Do we inherit cues of depth perception?

In this blog I am going to focus on cues.  Making it follow on from my previous blog but adding more detail into the cues that we use when we perceive things.

The cues that we use we use when we perceive things are called binocular and monocular, these help use to determine the distance.   The binocular cues that we have determine the depth cues.  Both eyes are needed to see binocular cues.  Convergence and retinal disparity are the two most important binocular cues.  Monocular cues came be see by using only one eye.  for example overlap, texture, shading, size.

In 1960 Eleanor J, Gibson and R.D. Walk conducted a piece of research called ‘the visual cliff’. The purpose of this piece of research was to investigate depth perception in humans and animals.  The research was tried out on babies, rats, kitten and tortoises.

The visual cliff was where a clear piece of plastic was placed over a drop.  Giving the appearance of a cliff but not an actual cliff as the plastic was level with the first surface.  The baby would crawl on the flat surface and reach the cliff.  The test was to see if the baby would crawl over the cliff or not.

If the child or the animal had developed depth perception then they would not go over the cliff.

This piece of research suggests that we do not inherit cues of depth perception and we are not born with them, but in fact we learn them from our every day experiences.  As a baby or an animal moves around in the first few weeks/months of life then they learn that things are at different heights.  They learn to see the world in 3d rather than 2d.

Here are some extra links for more information and some great videos from you tube.


2 thoughts on “Do we inherit cues of depth perception?

  1. An interesting area of topic, and one that I believe could be developed further.
    It makes me wonder what would happen if a child had been previously taught that some ‘invisible’ surfaces were safe were to take part in the experiment.
    Would a child be able to make the judgement about whether a certain invisible surface was safe or not, and would this affect the results of the experiment.
    Another thing that could possibly be investigated is whether or not we inherit visual danger cues through the texture or shape of an object, though a study into this could present some ethical problems.

  2. riggerb says:

    Some interesting thoughts there. I’m sure It would be possible to investigate the examples that you have mentioned.

    In an ideal experiment to have the baby just living in a room with these ‘invisible’ surfaces and see how each day the baby would respond to them and how quickly they would learn depth perception. Or course this would not be ethical. 🙂 but it is an interesting point to think about and also if there were small pieces of research that could be done to prove these areas of cues and depth perception.

    Becky 🙂

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