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The study of visual depth and distance perception in animals

The study of visual depth and distance perception in animals

Advance Stud Behav 1: 99-154

The work of Spalding in 1873 was described in the introduction. Spalding put a hood around the head of a chick to block out all visual input in order to study the role of visual experience in the development of space perception. Spalding's conclusion, that the perception of depth and distance is innate in the chick and certain other birds and in pigs, still stands, a model of precise, careful experimentation, 90 years later. Innate mechanisms have been definitely shown in some species, such as the chick, but an assessment of the role of learning in late maturing species is handicapped by the side effects of visual deprivation. While the side effects of visual deprivation may hinder an "either-or" answer to the nature-nurture question, research using visual deprivation has shown the importance of normal or patterned visual stimulation for all visually guided species studied.

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