Perceiving possibilities for action-affordances-requires sensitivity, accuracy, and consistency. In the current study, we tested children of different ages (16-month-olds to 7-year-olds) and adults to examine the development of affordance perception for reaching through openings of various sizes. Using a psychophysical procedure, we estimated individual affordance functions to characterize participants' actual ability to fit their hand through openings and individual decision functions to characterize attempts to reach. Decisions were less accurate in younger children (16-month-olds to 5-year-olds); they were more likely to attempt impossible openings and to touch openings prior to refusing, suggesting a slow developmental trend in learning to perceive affordances for fitting through openings. However, analyses of multiple outcome measures revealed that the youngest participants were equally consistent in their decision making as the oldest ones and that every age group showed sensitivity to changes in the environment by scaling their attempts to opening size.
- Decision making
- Motor development
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology