intermodal perception

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PSY-1170 Human Development

PSY-1170Human DevelopmentIntermodal PerceptionYumi Shinohara


The reason for choosing this topicWhen babies are born,

They cannot see well.They cannot speak.They cannot think.

However, as they are growing, they will be able to see, speak, talk, think and express themselves. Such an amazing thing, isnt it?

I am impressed by the growth of child and want to focus on how their multiple senses interact and develop.


What is intermodal perception?

Definition:Perception of information from object or events available to multiple senses (sounds, sights, smells etc.) simultaneously. According to Piagets theory of cognitive development, intermodal perception improves across the first year of life.Example:Auditory- Visual PerceptionVisual- Tactile and Visual- Motor


HistoryAristotle argues a sensus communis or common sense in De Anima or On the Soul. It means that,

each sense is relative to its particular group of sensible qualities.

James J. Gibson (Psychologist) In The Senses of considered as Perceptual Systems He argues that, our senses work together as a unified perceptual system


Are babies able to recognize their mothers face at birth?--Yes, they are. But, they have to have a previous experience of hearing mothers voice.

by 3 months, infants can match facial and vocal expression of emotion , such as happy, sad and angry, in familiar peopleby 5 months, infants can do it in unfamiliar people


Experiment of Auditory- Visual perceptionPurpose:

Whether the absence of the mothers voice before infants are born would result in less head turns towards the mothers face when they are born.

Method:15 participants (eight males, seven females neonates) Neonates will face their mother and strangersWhich way towards who does baby turn


Result of the experiment

Conclusion:The presence of the mothers voice facilitate recognition of the mothers face at birth.

However, it is not yet known how much mothers voice and face contact for remaning learning and development.

Neonate who had been exposed to their mothers voice demonstrate more head turns towards the mothers face.


Development of Auditory- Visual PerceptionAudiovisual Spaceinfants reliably move their eyes in the direction of a sound.(first week)enables infants to discover visual information at the source of the sound.

promotes detection of intersensory redundancy Example: we can guess ambulance coming without seeing when we hear the sound

Object and Events Perceptioninfants can detect the temporal synchrony and spatial colocation uniting the sight and sound(tempo or rhythm).


Development of Auditory- Visual Perception

Speech Perception and Languagemotherese makes it easier for infants to maintain attention to and learn speechBy the age of 2 months, infants can detect voice-lip synchrony By five to seven months, they can use face-voice synchrony

Social PerceptionProtoconversation: an interaction between adult (mother) and baby, that includes words, sounds and gesturesBy three months, infants can match facial and vocal expressions of emotions, such as happy, sad and angry.

Synchrony:Mutual pattern of attachment behaviors shared by a parent and a child.9

Experiment of happy and angry expressive behaviours

Method:There are two women. One woman expressed the affects vocally, and the other woman expressed the affects with facial expressions.

Outcome:Infants looked longer at affectively concordant displays. (happy expressions) they are able to discriminate happy from anger affective expressions.


Development of Visual- Tactile and Visual-Motor PerceptionDefinition: perception across vision and touch

Example:one-month-old infants perceive a correspondence between an object that they have explored by holding or mouthing and a visual display of the same object. babies acquired increasingly more details about objects.


Development of Visual- Tactile and Visual-Motor PerceptionProprioception self movement based on feedback from kinesthetic sense such muscles, joints and vestibular system

rapidly develop coordinated with motor behaviour and visual feedback

Visually guided reachingreacting behaviour as a function of the changing position of objectsinfants can adapt their crawling and early walking attempts based on visual information and solidity of the surface.


Intermodal Perception by Children with autism Result:

Children with autism have difficulty matching toys based on sound track and video displays.

Intermodal perception is negatively correlated with autism.


What adults can do for infants?

Feel ThinkSeeTalkHearEngaging infants with exposure to variety of environmentsSpeaking to infants frequentlyInteracting with infants through touching, laughing, singing and gestures



Cute baby seal, 7-themes.come, retrieved from

Bahrick, L.E.,& Lickliter, R.(2009). Perceptional development: Intermodal perception. In B.Glodstein(Ed), Encyclopedia of Perception, Vol 2, 753-756. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publishers.Sensus Communis, Retrived from

Sai, F.Z (2005). The role of the mothers voice in developing mothers face preference: Evidence for intermodal perception at birth. Infant and Child Development, 14, 1, 29-50.

Top news health( September, 05, 2011), Retrieved from

Walker-Andrews, A., & Haviland, J. (1994). Brief report: preferential looking in intermodal perception by children with autism. Journal Of Autism & Developmental Disorders, 24(1), 99-107

Soken, N. H., & Pick, A. D. (August 01, 1992). Intermodal Perception of Happy and Angry Expressive Behaviours by Seven-Month-Old infants. Child Development, 63, 4, 787-795

Figure 1. Schmuckler, M.A., & Fairhall, J. L. (2001). Visual-Proprioceptive Intermodal Perception Using Point Light Displays. Child Development, 72(4), 949.