Award Date

December 2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Committee Member

Jennifer L. Rennels

Second Committee Member

Erin Hannon

Third Committee Member

Rachael Robnett

Fourth Committee Member

Ken Peffers

Number of Pages

151

Abstract

In this investigation we examined the potential processes underlying infant preferences for and categorization of male and female faces as well as the outcome of these preferences. Infants with female primary caregivers exhibit preferences for same-race females over males and categorize females more readily than males. Little is known, however, about how infants may arrive at these collective preferences and categorization abilities. In research settings infants are exposed to novel stimuli in relatively short periods of time, and their experiences outside of the lab may be imposing structure onto their learning in lab settings. We used state space grids (SSGs) to examine how the dynamic systems concepts of attractor states, stability, and variability related to infant behavior in two experimental contexts. The content and variability of infant behavior differed based on infant age, study context, and real-world social experiences. Additionally, within-person differences in the variability of looking patterns were associated with the strength of attractor states, which suggests that real-time dynamics impacted behavioral outcomes.

Disciplines

Psychology

Language

English


Included in

Psychology Commons

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