Effects of luminance and texture motion on infant defensive reactions to optical collision

JoséE E. Náñez, Albert Yonas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Infants saw a textured light area expand and contract on a dark rear-projection screen. The texture elements (15 black dots) expanded and contracted radially from the center of the screen as though they were on a single surface (single-depth display) or independent (multiple-depth display). None of the texture elements was on a "collision" trajectory with the infant's face. The single-depth display elicited greater defensive reactions (blinking and backward head movement) on expansion than contraction trials in both 4- to 8-week-olds and 10- to 14-week-olds. A different group of 4- to 8-week-olds did not exhibit greater overall blinking or backward head movement to expansion versus contraction of the multiple-depth display. The findings suggest that young infants utilize flow field information to distinguish between approaching subjective surfaces and voids in the regions between sparse texture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-174
Number of pages10
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1994


  • impending optical collision
  • infant vision
  • looming displays
  • luminance
  • texture motion
  • visual depth perception


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