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Perceptual Development

  1. Alexandra Monesson,
  2. Lisa S. Scott

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0657

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Monesson, A. and Scott, L. S. 2010. Perceptual Development. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Parents, educators, and researchers alike often question how infants and children learn to organize and interpret things they see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. The study of perceptual development examines how the use of the five senses changes over time as well as how information perceived in the environment shapes later perceptual abilities. There are several present-day theories of perceptual development that differ in their views of the nature of the information available to infants' sensory systems (see Gibson & Pick, 2000, for a review). For example, some view sensory information as crude and insufficient for perception, and they suggest that the first step is to actively construct a representation of the external world. Another view, the ecological approach, considers sensory information as rich and well organized, in addition to assuming reciprocal interaction between the environment and the perceiver. The present review highlights the fundamentals of perceptual development, and it suggests that this development is best viewed as a bidirectional interaction between maturational factors and experience.


  • perceptual development;
  • infant development;
  • visual development;
  • auditory development