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alexandra mnuskin's picture

Babies, perception and the I-function

It seems to me that we have come to the conclusion that the brain fills in the blank completely without the aid of the I-function. 3-D vision, seeing the extra dot…all of it happens without our conscious thought. However I’m still curious about whether this is an innate ability or if perhaps it’s the sort of thing that must be learnt.

Jean Piaget, a famous developmental psychologist wrote that at birth babies do not realize that an object is whole if it is partly overlapped by another object. So for example if a ball is only half way visible behind a table—the infant will conclude that what he is looking at is half a sphere. It seems then that the infant’s binocular stereopsis is not quite functioning. Or rather that the story he is getting from his brain is not a very accurate one. He first has to be able to consciously realize that this is most probably not half a ball but a whole ball—one that he has seen and played with before. Can the brain then only fill in the blank with something it has seen before, something it thinks it recognizes? Are we then back to consciousness and the I-function?

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