Infant visual expectation in relation to feature learning

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Five-month-old infants were administered a modified version of Haith, Hazan, and Goodman's (1988) visual expectation paradigm. Infants were presented with 60 trials of a left-left-right or right-right-left alternating sequence of moving graphic stimuli. An immobile and unchanging visual feature (i.e., a {n-ary logical or} or a ∀) appeared at random locations on each of the graphics. Infants then received a series of six test trials in which a novel pair of identical moving stimuli was simultaneously presented to the left and right of visual center. The "familiar" feature (e.g., {n-ary logical or}) appeared on one member of the pair and the "novel" feature (e.g., ∀) appeared on the other member of the pair. Results indicated that infants who engaged in more anticipatory looking during the 60 familiarization trials attended more to the graphic containing the novel feature during test trials. Results suggest that 5-month-old infants who are better at learning spatiotemporal patterns are also better at learning the contents of brief and changing graphic displays. It is suggested that the relation between anticipatory looking and novelty preference is explained by cognitive as well as attention-regulatory factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-434
Number of pages8
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1995


  • novelty preference anticipation infancy learning attention expectation formation reaction time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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