Infants' perception of depth from cast shadows

Albert Yonas, Carl E. Granrud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Five- and 7-month-old infants viewed displays in which cast shadows provided information that two objects were at different distances. The 7-month-olds reached preferentially for the apparently nearer object under monocular-viewing conditions but exhibited no reaching preference under binocular-viewing conditions. These results indicate that 7-month-old infants perceive depth on the basis of cast shadows. The 5-month-olds did not reach preferentially for the apparently nearer object and, therefore, exhibited no evidence of sensitivity to cast shadows as depth information. In a second experiment, 5-month-olds reached preferentially for the nearer of two objects that were similar to those used in the first experiment but were positioned at different distances from the infant This result indicated that 5-month-olds have the motor skills and motivation necessary to exhibit a reaching preference under the conditions of this study. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that depth perception based on cast shadows first appears between 5 and 7 months of age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-160
Number of pages7
JournalPerception and Psychophysics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006


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