This paper reviews progress over the past 20 years in four areas of research on infant perception and cognition. Work on perception of dynamic events has identified perceptual constraints on perception of object unity and object trajectory continuity that have led to a perceptual account of early development that supplements Nativist accounts. Work on face processing has charted developmental changes that clarify the way innate systems are modified by experience. Research on perception of goal-directed action and animacy has made significant progress in uncovering the roots of social cognition from 6 months onwards. New methods such as eye tracking and measures of brain activity have done much to confirm and clarify conclusions arising from more conventional looking preference methods. It is likely that future progress in theory and understanding will be made increasingly as a result of triangulation between data arising from conventional and newer methods. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.