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Speed discrimination in 6- and 10-month-old infants follows Weber's law


Möhring, W; Libertus, M E; Bertin, E (2012). Speed discrimination in 6- and 10-month-old infants follows Weber's law. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 111(3):405-418.

Abstract

The speed of a moving object is a critical variable that factors into actions such as crossing a street and catching a ball. However, it is not clear when the ability to discriminate between different speeds develops. Here, we investigated speed discrimination in 6- and 10-month-old infants using a habituation paradigm showing infants events of a ball rolling at different speeds. The 6-month-olds looked longer at novel speeds that differed by a 1:2 ratio than at the familiar ones but showed no difference in looking time to speeds that differed by a 2:3 ratio. In contrast, the 10-month-olds succeeded at discriminating a 2:3 ratio. For both age groups, discrimination was modulated by the ratio between novel and familiar speeds, suggesting that speed discrimination is subject to Weber's law. These findings show striking parallels to previous results in infants' discrimination of duration, size, and number and suggest a shared system for processing different magnitudes.

The speed of a moving object is a critical variable that factors into actions such as crossing a street and catching a ball. However, it is not clear when the ability to discriminate between different speeds develops. Here, we investigated speed discrimination in 6- and 10-month-old infants using a habituation paradigm showing infants events of a ball rolling at different speeds. The 6-month-olds looked longer at novel speeds that differed by a 1:2 ratio than at the familiar ones but showed no difference in looking time to speeds that differed by a 2:3 ratio. In contrast, the 10-month-olds succeeded at discriminating a 2:3 ratio. For both age groups, discrimination was modulated by the ratio between novel and familiar speeds, suggesting that speed discrimination is subject to Weber's law. These findings show striking parallels to previous results in infants' discrimination of duration, size, and number and suggest a shared system for processing different magnitudes.

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9 citations in Web of Science®
11 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Date:2012
Deposited On:17 Feb 2012 14:46
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:38
Publisher:Academic Press
ISSN:0022-0965
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2011.11.002
PubMed ID:22154534

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