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Infants' Perception of Affordances of Slopes Under High-and Low-Friction Conditions

Summary: Infants' Perception of Affordances of Slopes Under High-
and Low-Friction Conditions
Karen E. Adolph
New York University
Amy S. Joh
Duke University
Marion A. Eppler
East Carolina University
Three experiments investigated whether 14- and 15-month-old infants use information for both friction
and slant for prospective control of locomotion down slopes. In Experiment 1, high- and low-friction
conditions were interleaved on a range of shallow and steep slopes. In Experiment 2, friction conditions
were blocked. In Experiment 3, the low-friction surface was visually distinct from the surrounding
high-friction surface. In all three experiments, infants could walk down steeper slopes in the high-
friction condition than they could in the low-friction condition. Infants detected affordances for
walking down slopes in the high-friction condition, but in the low-friction condition, they attempted
impossibly slippery slopes and fell repeatedly. In both friction conditions, when infants paused to
explore slopes, they were less likely to attempt slopes beyond their ability. Exploration was elicited
by visual information for slant (Experiments 1 and 2) or by a visually distinct surface that marked
the change in friction (Experiment 3).
Keywords: infant locomotion, perception of affordances, friction, prospective control, perceptual


Source: Adolph, Karen - Center for Neural Science & Department of Psychology, New York University


Collections: Biology and Medicine