Infants’ sensory and perceptual abilities

This activity reinforces students’ knowledge and understanding of infants’ sensory and perceptual abilities and provides an opportunity for students to apply this knowledge. 

Color Perception in Infancy

As Santrock mentions in the text, the visual system continues to develop after birth. It appears that experience is necessary for visual development to progress, and recent research suggests that experience may be equally important for color perception. In one study, infant monkeys were raised in a room with only monochromatic illumination for almost a year (Sugita, 2004). These monkeys were able to match colors after extensive training, but their judgments were significantly different from those of infant monkeys who were not raised in the same environment. This suggests that early experience is important in the development of color perception.

Research with human infants suggests that although human newborns (ranging from 1 to 7 days of age) are able to discriminate between certain colors, their ability to discriminate is vastly different from that of adults (Adams & Courage, 1998). The excitation purity levels that were necessary for infants to detect a difference between the colors green, red, and yellow from white were significantly higher than those necessary for adult perception. This research suggests that neonatal color vision is quite poor.


Adams, R. J., & Courage, M. L. (1998). Human newborn color vision: Measurement with chromatic stimuli varying in excitation purity. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 68, 22–34.

Sugita, Y. (2004). Experience in early infancy is indispensable for color perception. Current Biology, 14(14), 1267–1271.

Design an experiment so that you could test this theory with different age ranges of babies to asses the progression of color perceptionMake sure you pay attention to the research basics from Chapter 1, and clearly include your i.e., independent variables, dependent  variables). You must include a clear theory and hypothesis – and clear method for testing.

Think about using toys, bedding, easy to access household things to manipulate for your experiment

See the  extra slides for chapter 5 to help you decide how/what to choose for your experiment.

Use theory to support your experiment and make sure you support your theory with empirical support.

Be critical thinkers!

  • Each assignment is worth 25 points. Approx. 1000 words  is ~ 4 pages in length.
  • Follow basic APA formatting i.e. 12pt font (Times or Arial), double spaced, 1 inch margins. You do not need a cover page but you must cite references in APA style.
  • Be clear, and concise, but thorough in order to expect full points.
  • Use three (3) peer reviewed journal articles to support your arguments/claims. The book can be used as an extra resource (the book also provides several resources to look up).

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