Depth Perception, an Inborn Skill? Essay

This essay has a total of 441 words and 2 pages.

Depth Perception, an Inborn Skill?

In 1960, Eleanor Gibson and Richard Walk conducted an experiment to see whether depth
perception is an inborn or a learned skill in humans. They conducted their experiment with
a table that had a thick glass surface on half of the table and a solid base on the other
half. This created an illusion of a small cliff without the dangers of actually falling.
In this experiment, infants ranging from the age of 6 to 14 months were placed on the
solid side of the table. The infants' mothers were placed on the other side of table and
were there to coax the infants to the other side. Of the 30 infants tested, 27 of them
crossed the glass surface when called while only 3 refused.

Gibson and Walk conducted the same experiment on newborn chickens and goats with
astonishing results. When chickens and goats were placed on the solid side, not a single
one of them made an error to cross the "cliff." The same test was conducted on baby rats
whose results fared far worse than the results of the chickens and goats. The rats fared
worse because they are nocturnal animals who rely on other senses other than vision to
direct them. From this experiment, Gibson and Walk concluded that depth perception was
inborn to all animals and humans by the time they achieve independent movement. This is in
the case of chickens and goats at birth and for humans at around 6 months of age.

The results of Gibson and Walk's experiment are very questionable because their control
group did not consist of any socially dependant animals. Infants are socially dependent of
their mother for survival and nurturing throughout their childhood. Gibson and Walk should
Continues for 1 more page >>