CAREER: The Development of Heading Perception in Infancy

Project: Research project

Project Details



Rick O. Gilmore

Department of Psychology

Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

When moving around the environment, animals generate a pattern of visual

motion called optic flow. Optic flow provides information about where and

how fast the observer is moving. This information is crucial for safely

moving through the environment. Despite its importance, very little is

known about how the ability to perceive optic flow develops early in life.

This project will examine how young infants develop the ability to

determine which direction they are moving or heading through the

environment. It will examine the role that changes in visual factors, such

as acuity or sensitivity to motion, play in the ability to perceive one's

heading. The project will examine how infants' emerging abilities to crawl

and walk shape their perceptual capacities. The project also will examine

how infants develop the ability to use visual information to maintain

balance and control posture. The results will provide new information

about the development of a perceptual skill that is critical for maintaining

balance, avoiding collisions, and moving safely through the environment.

In turn, the results will lay the groundwork for future research into the

impact of postnatal brain development on other aspects of perceptual and

motor development. Finally, this CAREER project will incorporate educational

activities that will help to train a new generation of students in the

emerging field of developmental

Effective start/end date3/1/019/30/07


  • National Science Foundation: $397,307.00


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