Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972000 | Print ISBN: 9781412940818 | Online ISBN: 9781412972000| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
HoJim Kim & Scott P. Johnson
Late in the 19th century, the pioneering psychologist William James in The Principles of Psychology famously summarized what he believed to be the infant's perceptual experience, “The baby, assailed by eyes, ears, nose, skin, and entrails at once, feels it all as one great blooming, buzzing confusion,” and suggested, “Infants must go through a long education of eye and ear before they can perceive the realities which adults perceive. Every perception is an acquired perception ” (p. 488, emphasis original). This position was echoed by the preeminent developmental psychologist of the 20th century, Jean Piaget, who proposed that at birth, percepts across sensory modalities, such as vision and touch, are uncoordinated and that the new-born's visual world consists of an assemblage of moving colors and shapes, rather than the segregated objects experienced by adults. Perceptual organization emerges only slowly during the first two postnatal years, according to Piaget, as infants ...