Do infants possess an evolved spider-detection mechanism?

David H. Rakison, Jaime Derringer

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Abstract

Previous studies with various non-human animals have revealed that they possess an evolved predator recognition mechanism that specifies the appearance of recurring threats. We used the preferential looking and habituation paradigms in three experiments to investigate whether 5-month-old human infants have a perceptual template for spiders that generalizes to real-world images of spiders. A fourth experiment assessed whether 5-month-olds have a perceptual template for a non-threatening biological stimulus (i.e., a flower). The results supported the hypothesis that humans, like other species, may possess a cognitive mechanism for detecting specific animals that were potentially harmful throughout evolutionary history.

LanguageEnglish (US)
Pages381-393
Number of pages13
JournalCognition
Volume107
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2008

Fingerprint

Experiment
Template
Spiders
Stimulus
Flower
Evolutionary
Real World
Habituation
History
Threat
Predator
Nonhuman Animals
Paradigm
Animals

Keywords

  • Adaptations
  • Cognition
  • Evolution
  • Fear
  • Infancy
  • Perception
  • Spiders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

Do infants possess an evolved spider-detection mechanism? / Rakison, David H.; Derringer, Jaime.

In: Cognition, Vol. 107, No. 1, 01.04.2008, p. 381-393.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Rakison, David H. ; Derringer, Jaime. / Do infants possess an evolved spider-detection mechanism?. In: Cognition. 2008 ; Vol. 107, No. 1. pp. 381-393
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