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Title:Understanding Pictures as Representations: 9-Month-Old Infants' Manual Investigation of Pictures as a Function of Referent Characteristics
Author(s):Pierroutsakos, Sophia L.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):DeLoache, Judy S.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Developmental
Abstract:Pictures are both objects in their own right and symbols of whatever they depict. Their resemblance to what they represent has led to the assumption that the symbolic nature of pictures is easily understood, even by young infants. In a series of previous studies, 9-month-old infants' have manually investigated photographs presented to them in books, rubbing, hitting, and in many cases grasping at them, as if trying to pluck them off the page. The infants' behaviors are surprising in light of the well-established ability of even younger infants to discriminate between 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional stimuli. In the research presented here, the effect of distinctive characteristics of objects on infants' manual investigation of pictures of those objects was examined. In Study 1, a group of 9-month-old infants was presented with a series of objects with handles, half with salient texture on the other end and half without, and pictures of those objects. Infants' manual investigation of the pictures differed as a function of the texture and the specific parts of the objects depicted. The pattern of infants' behavior to the actual objects was similar: They rubbed more at depicted texture. In Study 2, a similar pattern of differences was found in response to pictures of substances and objects. Nine-month-old infants tended to rub the depicted substances more than they grasped. Parallels with infants' behavior to the actual substances and objects were not as clear in Study 2: Infants overwhelmingly grabbed the stimuli, regardless of solidity. In Study 3, infants were provided with direct experience with a set of objects which varied in terms of noise-making potential. Infants manually investigated pictures of the familiar objects more than pictures of unfamiliar objects. There were no differences in infants' manual investigation of the pictured objects as a function of the specific type of experience they had with the objects (noise-making versus silent). These findings support the position that infants manually explore pictured objects because they are unsure about the dual nature of pictures; with continued experience with both objects and pictures, infants come to fully grasp the representational nature of pictures.
Issue Date:1999
Description:82 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1999.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9953110
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:1999

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