Movement Science Essay

This essay has a total of 3754 words and 16 pages.

Movement Science

Are parents ready to red shirt there children? No, I'm not talking about sports but
kindergarten. Many parents are facing the issue of whether or not their children are ready
for the big step into the classroom. Before entering kindergarten children need to develop
their perceptual skill (depth perception). As humans we need depth perception for
detection, discrimination, and identification of objects. Depth perception is a difficult
topic to access due to the fact that the world is three dimensional and human visions are
two dimensional. When transmitted to the brain, an image on the retina is not a picture;
rather it is a pattern of nerve impulses, aroused by a light pattern that terminates in
the visual area of the cerebral cortex. Through some activity of the occipital lobes of
the cerebral cortex, human beings apparently perceive the external world in a
three-dimensional manner that is correlated with the retinal-image pattern in some orderly
manner.

Psychologists are particularly interested in the cues which enable people to perceive
depth and distance. Stimulus patterns for arousing a depth experience occur when
individuals are given specific cues. The cues may be monocular, effective when using one
eye as well as two, or binocular, requiring the usage of both eyes. The cues may also be
psychological, depending only on the visual image, or physiological, originating from the
structure and movement of the eyes.

In this paper I will explain perceptual development and how it relates to animals,
infants, and blind infants. Infancy is the period of life in which development occurs most
rapidly. Development occurs in a variety of different ways and has been categorized with
the study of infancy into physical, motor, and perceptual development. Each of these forms
of development occurs simultaneously and progress in each facilitates the progress of the
other. There are many studies I will assess to further explain how they contribute to
explaining the development of perception.

In developing direct perception one must be able to directly perceive what the objects and
surfaces in the environment are perceived as an action of affordances. An example of an
affordance is stair climbing. Walking down a flight of stairs as an 18 month and adult are
different. As an individual grows, perception of affordances might change. When climbing
the stairs a person must be able to judge leg length to judge how they climb the stairs.
Oculomotor and visual cues help us solve this problem as sources of depth perception.
Oculomotor is broken down into convergence and accommodation. The amount of convergence
and accommodation can be used as cues for absolute depth (for objects not too far away
from you). Visual cues can be broken down into binocular and monocular.

Binocular visual fields make use of binocular depth cues; an organism must have a
binocular visual field -- a region of overlapping visibility for the two eyes. Different
animals have different extents of binocular visual fields. In general, predators have both
eyes on the front of their heads, and consequently have large binocular visual fields. In
contrast, prey typically have one eye on either side of their heads, and consequently have
small, if any, binocular visual fields. The visual system uses disparity information as
one cue to depth. The fact that a three-dimensional percept can be derived from retinal
disparity is seen when we view stereogram displays in which each eye receives a slightly
different picture/view.

In the 1830s, Wheatstone developed a device with which to view stereogram: the
stereoscope. This device presented one two-dimensional view of a scene to one eye, and a
slightly different two-dimensional view to the other eye. When the brain received these
slightly different views from the two eyes, it integrated them into one three-dimensional
scene. In other words, the disparity between the two scenes enabled the observer to see
depth.

Perceptual development means how animals and humans alike develop their seeing
capabilities. This development of perception could be learnt or innate. This concept of
perceptual development is heavily based from an old issue in psychology, the nature vs.
nurture. We have to wonder, stated by Walk in The Development of Depth Perception in
Animals and Human Infants, "Do we learn to the world about us, or do we see the world in
all its complexity innately, without any learning?" The question of whether individuals
learn or inherit the ability to interpret these cues is a persistent controversy among
psychologists. Some psychologists maintain that human perceptions of space, at least to a
certain extent, are sensed directly by visual cues beginning at birth.

Research involving a visual cliff shows that, by the time infants are crawling, they
already avoid tumbling off a visual drop off. Some animals, born with open eyes and
walking ability, also avoid visual cliffs, apparently without "learning." It is, of
course, difficult to prove that this behavior is not learned, since both animals and human
infants are exposed to an environment involving depth and space before they can be tested
on the visual cliff. Some psychologists contend that the process of defining and using
visual cues results from our learning about the world through our other senses. People may
learn to interpret these cues through associated tactile and motor processes. For example,
an object looks round because it feels" round, or an object looks nearer to someone
because the muscular effort used to touch it is less than the effort expended reaching for
an object that looks farther away. One psychologist has written that this type of learning
is not an either-or proposition, because innate organization and acquired meaning may both
be involved.

Many theorists found perception as a predecessor to both movement and cognition and
projected that children with learning disabilities lacked perceptual development. An
example of this is being able to perceive the difference in spatial orientation between a
circle and line, and the difference between the form of a letter b and the form of letter
d. If a child lacks perception reading may become complex. Many theorists hypothesize that
deficits could be remediated by perceptual-motor activity programs. By implicating these
programs perceptual motor responses, children could overcome perceptual and cognitive
difficulties.

Animal studies allow us to do things that we could not do to human infants, and see what
effect our manipulations have on the animal's development. Animals like babies are unable
to tell us what they perceive. I will explain the concept of development of depth
perception in chick and kittens. Conditions in 1873 done by Spalding in Instinct with
Original Observations on Young Animals, was the first controlled observation of distance
perception in animals. He held a chick in a black flannel bag after it was hatched and
observed the chick going to its mother even though there were obstacles in its way. This
was a control to ensure that animals were relying on vision and not sound. In 1957 Walk,
Gibson, in The Visual Cliff, used a visual cliff apparatus and animals that had no
previous visual experience. The animal was placed in the center of glass. On one side of
the center board, a texture surface was just beneath the glass which was considered the
shallow side. On the other side there was no textured surface under glass but could see a
textured surface a distance below which was considered the deep side. In 1960 Gibson and
Walk combined and tested day old chicks on the same visual cliff, and found that evidence
of depth perception in chick is present at birth. However, in 1963 a study by Nealey and
Riley kept animals in the dark for 300 days. On their emergence from the dark, their depth
perception was absent. Two years later Walk, Trychin, and Karmel found lack of depth
perception past 140 days in the dark. But depth discrimination returned with experience in
the light.

When a cat extends its forelimbs automatically as if to prevent collision this is called
visual placing. Visual placing is common in all mammalian species, and is used to examine
depth perception in animals. Working with kittens, Riesen and Aarons in 1959 showed that
visual placing response was absent in kittens reared for six weeks in the dark. Gibson and
Walk furthered Riesen and Aarons study and showed that a 4week old kitten discriminates
depth on a visual cliff model, and a dark reared 4 week old animal does not. Gibson and
Walk findings confirmed that they found the visual placing absent in dark reared animals.
One of the most famous studies done with Kittens was when theorists Held and Hein in 1963
studied early motor activity in kittens. The purpose of this study was to understand if
perception is learnt or is an innate process. They deprived some newborn kittens of motor
activity while permitting others to move. They kept the visual experience identical for
all kittens having them in a kitten carousel. One of the pair of kittens was harnessed but
could walk around (active kitten) while the other kitten was restricted from moving
(passive kitten). The passive kitten later failed to accurately judge depth perception and
failed paw placing and eye blinking, when an object approached. The active kitten
developed both visual placing reaction and depth discrimination on the visual cliff. With
this study you can conclude that kittens do not show perception of depth at birth and is
learnt in kittens. Held and Hein concluded that it wasn't that the kittens actually failed
to learn about depth cues, but it was that they failed to learn the correct motor
responses associated with them.

This study provides more evidence that at least some visual abilities have to be learned
through experience; in this case experience of locomotion around one's own immediate
environment. Three conclusions from animal studies is that first, depth perception is
innate in some species, such as the chick. The second conclusion is that depth perception
must be maintained by light stimulation in all species. The third conclusion is that the
development of depth perception in some species, such as the kitten, is dependent on an
interaction of innate factors and environmental stimulation.

With human infants Gibson and Walk used the visual cliff apparatus which was used in
animals. Gibson and Walk suggested that avoidance over the visual cliff was instinctive.
Human infants when called by their mother on the opposite side refused to crawl out on the
glass covering drop-off.

Campos and his associates in 1971 had a different thought; he believed that avoidance
behavior in human infants is not instinctive. Campos argued that avoidance develops as a
consequence of experience locomoting. His explanation lies in a reafferent theory of
perception whereby feedback correlates with self produced movement is seen as necessary to
produce appropriate visually directed behavior. In 1978 Campos examined the heart rate
response to the visual cliff with age. He used infant from 2, 3.5, and 5 months old who
showed a significant heart rate deceleration when placed on the glass over the apparent
drop off, or deep side. While infants of 9 months showed an acceleration of heart rate on
the same deep side. Deceleration of heart rate is most often taken as evidence of
interest, while acceleration is taken to be evidence of fear. It was recorded that there
was a positive correlation with an increase in age between the crawling experience and
latency to reach mother on deep side. In this study heart rate only shows a relationship
between age and fear of the deep side of the visual cliff and not between loco motor
experience and fear.

When an infant is placed in the center of the visual cliff it is relying on feedback.
Feedback is known to have at least three aspects: internal feedback that signals an
intended action within the nervous system, this occurs prior to overt action. Feedback
proper form the effectors system during action, and knowledge of results that may occur
only after action has been completed. It is important for infants to have good relation of
body movements with hands and legs, for infants it allows them to learn the emergence of
their new tools.

Infants given experience in a walker failed to avoid the cliff when tested. These findings
with the walker went against the finding in the reaffernet theory of avoidance behavior.
Infants were tested on the visual cliff's shallow and deep sides in the walker and while
crawling. The subjects tested in the walker first and the other half tested crawling
first. Analysts show that when infants learn to crawl is the best predictor of when the
child will avoid the deep side of the visual cliff apparatus when crawling. In this study
children that cross the visual cliff learned to crawl before 6.5 months. While, those who
avoided the cliff had learned to crawl at or after 6.5 months of age. This study proved
that the amount of crawling experience predicts avoidance behavior. One problem with this
study is that having babies in the walker they feel safe, and for some reason ignore the
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