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Q: infant cognition ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: infant cognition
Category: Science > Social Sciences
Asked by: trindigo-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 07 Dec 2002 20:58 PST
Expires: 06 Jan 2003 20:58 PST
Question ID: 121165
could you pls tell me what is the link between 'habituation' paradigm
and 'violation of expectation' paradigm in studying infant cognition?

Clarification of Question by trindigo-ga on 07 Dec 2002 21:09 PST
how can 'violation of expectation' experimental paradigm be linked to
'habituation' method?
Subject: Re: infant cognition
Answered By: haversian-ga on 09 Dec 2002 20:45 PST
Hi trindigo,

Habituation is the process by which a neuronal response lessens in
response to repetition.  If you don't wear a watch, put one on.  If
you wear one, put it on the other wrist.  It feels odd, doesn't it? 
After a day or so it won't feel strange - the sensory response to
having a watch on your wrist diminishes due to habituation, to the
point where you don't notice it anymore.

Violation of expectation refers to a baby's "huh?" response to seeing
something strange.  The most obvious example is an experiment done
where a baby is shown railroad tracks (a model railroad).  A cloth is
lowered, and a train goes by.  The baby looks around and sucks its
thumb.  The baby is then shown railroad tracks with a brick wall
across them.  Again, a cloth is lowered (in front of the wall) and a
train goes past.  The baby stares at the cloth, apparently wondering
how the train got past the brick wall.

Habituation seems to have fairly little to do with violation of
expectation.  You could theorize though that the baby's expectations
are encoded in a habituation response - that is, the baby doesn't
respond to the train going through empty tracks because it is
expected, whereas it does respond to the train not crashing into the
brick wall, as this is unexpected.

Is this the type of answer you were looking for, or did you want some
sort of journal submission addressing your question?  Please request a


Request for Answer Clarification by trindigo-ga on 10 Dec 2002 10:17 PST
thank you for ur answer, but it doesn't seem to relate to infant
cognition study... I want the answer in a more scientific way, ie.
answer with reference about how violation of expectation become a form
of habituation

Clarification of Answer by haversian-ga on 10 Dec 2002 12:11 PST
Could you clarify your question some?  Violation of expectation,
pretty much by definition, cannot become habituated, for then there
would be a new expectation which would not be violated, and the old
expectation would slowly fade.  Or am I misunderstanding you? 
Habituation (unless the term is used in more than one way that I am
not aware of) refers to a physiological response of neurons to
repeated stimulus.  It accounts for such things as walking into a barn
and smelling cows, which many city folk find to be an objectionable
smell, but not being able to smell them at all after 15 minutes.  Is
this the use of habituation which you want me to relate to violation
of expectation, a term not used in physiology, but rather in cognitive
studies, which are concerned with the overall function of the brain
rather than individual neurons?

Request for Answer Clarification by trindigo-ga on 10 Dec 2002 13:14 PST
Habituation method in study infant cognition is: stimulus is presented
repeatedly until the infant loses interest, and new stimulus then
present and the infant starts interest to the new stimulus again.
Violation of expectation: stimulus (possible event)was presented, and
the other new stimulus (impossible event) is then presented, the
infant looks more at the impossible event.  Therefore, it seems there
is a link between habituation paradigm and violation of expectation

Clarification of Answer by haversian-ga on 10 Dec 2002 17:29 PST
The problem with that theory is that you have phrased both in terms of
stimulus, whereas that is not quite appropriate.  Habituation is a
losing of interest (at the neuron level) in a particular stimulus. 
Violation of expectation does not rely on stimulus; it relies on
cognition.  The infant must be able to recognize and differentiate
possible from impossible events (such as the train not hitting the
brick wall in the example I gave in my answer) in order for violation
of expectation to occur, whereas habituation occurs in neurons
themselves, independently of any cognition which relies on the
neuronal impulses.

I think the connection you are trying to draw between the two is a
result of referring to both preconditions as a "stimulus" and thus
obscuring the differences.  Can you explain why you consider them the
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