Habituation, response to novelty, and dishabituation in human infants: Tests of a dual-process theory of visual attention

Peter S. Kaplan, John S Werner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations

Abstract

Two experiments were conducted to test a dual-process theory of infants' performance on visual habituation-dishabituation tasks. The findings demonstrate that (a) infant habituation functions are often nonmonotonic, with fixation increasing before the eventual response waning; (b) this initial increment in responding is related to stimulus "complexity"; (c) response to novelty is enhanced by increasing the "complexity" of the novelty-test stimulus; and (d) dishabituation, followed by decay, occurs for familiarized patterns when retested after the introduction of a "complex" stimulus, but not after introduction of a "simple" stimulus. Following P. Groves and R. Thompson (1970, Psychological Review, 77, 419-450) we propose that infant visual attention to repeated presentations of a stimulus involves two processes, habituation and sensitization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-217
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Volume42
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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