Are Perceptual Abilities Innate?

1423 Words6 Pages
For centuries scientists’ aim has been to observe not only the physical, but also the mental nature of a human being and its diverse, complex features. While it is clear to everyone that physical appearances are present from the outset, perceptual and intellectual abilities turn out to be not so readily monitored or inferred. Whether the way one perceives the world and the surrounding environment is a cause of an innate ability or is due to learning and experience, has been considered as one of the most controversial and thought-provoking topics in the wide area of psychology. Various findings in support of both naturists’ and nurturists’ view gave rise to a never ending dispute called ‘’Nature versus Nurture’’ which is not even close to being over. Due to a growing interest in infants’ ability to perceive the surrounding world in the early 20th century various research studies and experiments aiming to observe and investigate newborns’ nature were conducted. One of the first to engage in newborns’ observational studies was Bower (1965) who found they are capable of perceiving depth cues at the age of 3 months. What he did was to present babies with a cube in a distance of one meter and examine whether they would suck a pacifier while viewing the cube. After a couple of trials, infants realized that every time they suck the pacifier when the cube was shown they will be rewarded. Although cubes of different sizes and larger distances were used to test the babies, a relatively little sucking was produced by them, which suggests the hypothesis that infants may have prior knowledge of depth and size constancy. A few decades later, Yonas and Owsley (1987) also observed depth perception in 3 months old by introducing a film of an object that was approaching towards them. The infants showed fear reactions such as blinking and twitching
Open Document