How does action affect object understanding

in children?

 

Toddlers learn to recognize and name objects at an astounding rate, and they learn about objects through handling and manipulating them.  We are investigating changes in object understanding as children learn about objects through their active manipulations. Through a 5 year-long project funded by the National Institute of Health, Drs. Karin James, Linda Smith and Susan Jones (retired), have shown that:

1) Toddlers manipulate objects such that they show themselves only a few views: By two years old,  toddlers focus on the same object viewpoints as adults, but 18 month olds do not. Through action, toddlers learn how to manipulate objects so that their visual system receives optimal information.

James, K.H., Jones, S.S., Swain, S.N., Pereira, A., & Smith, L. B. (2013). Some views are better than others: Evidence for a visual bias in object views self generated by toddlers. Developmental Science, 17(3), 338-351.    doi.org/10.1111/desc.12124

 

 James, K.H., Jones, S.S., Smith, L.B., & Swain, S.N. (2013). Young Children’s Self-Generated Object

 Views and Object Recognition. Journal of Cognition and Development, 15(3), 393-401.

doi.org/10.1080/15248372.2012.749481  PDF

 

Periera, A.F., James, K.H., Jones, S.S. & Smith, L.B. (2010). Early biases and developmental changes in self-generated object views. Journal of Vision, 10(11): 22, 1-13. doi.org/10.1167/10.11.22

 

James, K.H., Humphrey, G.K., Vilis, T., Baddour, R., Corrie, B. & Goodale, M.A. (2002). Active” and “passive” learning of three-dimensional object structure within an immersive virtual reality.  Behavioral Research Methods, Instruments and Computers, 34 (3), 383-390.

 

James, K.H., Humphrey, G.K. & Goodale, M.A. (2001).  Manipulating and Recognizing Virtual Objects: Where the Action IsCanadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 55 (2), 111-120.

 

Harman, K.L., Humphrey, G.K. & Goodale, M.A. (1999). Active manual control of object views facilitates visual recognitionCurrent Biology, 9 (22), 1315-1318.

2)  Toddlers learn to insert objects into openings through their actions. By 2 years of age, they successfully ‘post’ objects through holes, but cannot perform this seemingly simple task at 18 months.  However, we see the precursors to this skill early on, as 18 month olds can orient their hands correctly through a slot, just not objects.

Street, S., James, K., Jones, S. & Smith, L. B. (2011). Vision for Action in Toddlers: The Posting Task. Child Development, 82(6), 2083-2094.  doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01655.x

 3)  By 24 months, toddlers orient objects such that they see the ‘planar’ views, and this tendency is driven by visual factors, not haptics. The visual system at this age seems to drive how the toddler should hold and manipulate objects.

James, K.H., Jones, S.S., Swain, S.N., Pereira, A., & Smith, L. B. (2013). Some views are better than others: Evidence for a visual bias in object views self generated by toddlers. Developmental Science, 17(3), 338-351.     doi: 10.1111/desc.12124

4) That showing oneself these ‘planar’ views facilitates object recognition in 24 month olds.

James, K.H., Jones, S.S., Smith, L.B., & Swain, S.N. (2013). Young Children’s Self-Generated Object Views and Object RecognitionJournal of Cognition and Development, 15(3), 393-401. doi: 10.1080/15248372.2012.749481

5) That toddlers do not categorize objects based on color, but rather on shape properties.

Yee, M. N., Smith, L.B., Jones, S. S., & James, K. (2012). How young children’s actions affect object recognition.  Poster presented at the International Conference on Infant Studies. Minneapolis, MN

6) That 18 month olds categorize objects based on their orientation, while by 2 years of age, toddlers are able to categorize objects by shape – similar to adults.

 

View doctoral student Julia Li's research poster presented at the

International Society of Infant Studies Conference in Spring 2013

7) 18 month olds have a difficult time judging two objects to be the same if they are shown in different orientations, but by 24 months, they can succeed at judging misoriented objects to be the same, except when they are upside-down. This object "inversion effect" is present right up through 5 years of age.

 

View doctoral student Julia Li's research poster presented at the

Cognitive Development Society Conference in Fall 2013

These studies have provided us with valuable information about how object understanding – identification, categorization, and naming, progress rapidly between 18 and 24 months.  We have evidence that this progression in understanding may be largely due to active manipulation of objects, and the interactions among visual and motor systems.

Cognition & Action Neuroimaging Lab | 1101 E. 10th Street, Bloomington, IN 47405 | (812)856-7237 | canlab1@indiana.edu