Based largely on the famous "visual cliff" paradigm, conventional wisdom is that crawling infants avoid crossing the brink of a dangerous drop-off because they are afraid of heights. However, recent research suggests that the conventional wisdom is wrong. Avoidance and fear are conflated, and there is no compelling evidence to support fear of heights in human infants. Infants avoid crawling or walking over an impossibly high drop-off because they perceive affordances for locomotion-the relations between their own bodies and skills and the relevant properties of the environment that make an action such as descent possible or impossible.
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