To examine sensitivity to pictorial depth cues in young infants (4 and 5 months-of-age), we compared monocular and binocular preferential looking to a display on which two faces were equidistantly presented and one was larger than the other, depicting depth from the size of human faces. Because human faces vary little in size, the correlation between retinal size and distance can provide depth information. As a result, adults perceive a larger face as closer than a smaller one. Although binocular information for depth provided information that the faces in our display were equidistant, under monocular viewing, no such information was provided. Rather, the size of the faces indicated that one was closer than the other. Infants are known to look longer at apparently closer objects. Therefore, we hypothesized that infants would look longer at a larger face in the monocular than in the binocular condition if they perceived depth from the size of human faces. Because the displays were identical in the two conditions, any difference in looking-behavior between monocular and binocular viewing indicated sensitivity to depth information. Results showed that 5-month-old infants preferred the larger, apparently closer, face in the monocular condition compared to the binocular condition when static displays were presented. In addition, when presented with a dynamic display, 4-month-old infants showed a stronger 'closer' preference in the monocular condition compared to the binocular condition. This was not the case when the faces were inverted. These results suggest that even 4-month-old infants respond to depth information from a depth cue that may require learning, the size of faces.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health under Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award 5T32HD007151 from the NICHD, the Eva O. Miller fellowship from the University of Minnesota, Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research ( 20539004 , 21243041 ) from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) , and Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas, ‘Face perception and recognition’ from MEXT KAKENHI ( 20119002 , 21119519 , 23119722 ).
- Familiar size
- Preferential looking
- Relative size