A phenomenological ‘blindness’ to subjective contours in early childhood
Johnson 2011 MA.doc (2.463Mb)
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Johnson, Michael William
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Two experiments assessed adult and child subjective contour integration abilities when presented with novel camouflaged stimuli across three levels of difficulty. A first experiment showed that children performed significantly worse than adults on visual search and figure-tracing tasks. Reliable differences for correct response tendencies, reaction times and accuracy-departure to target locations were established between groups. Additionally, distinct developmental differences between younger and older children within the child cohort were observed. A second experiment demonstrated an age-related threshold of 50 months beneath which children displayed clear failures for subjective contour integration, even when cued to the correct target location. These findings proposed the existence of a phenomenological ‘blindness’ to subjective contours; a claim that supersedes suggestions that poor contour integration in young children is simply due to a need of a greater amount of time to process presented stimuli, or the underdevelopment of neural pathways related to contour integration.