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Red to Green or Fast to Slow? Infants' Visual Working Memory for “Just Salient Differences”


  • Preliminary results from this study were presented at the annual meeting of the Vision Sciences Society in May 2010 (Blaser, Kaldy, Lo, & Biondi, 2010). This research was supported by National Institutes of Health Grant 2R15EY017985-02 and by the University of Massachusetts System's Presidential Science and Technology Award. We thank Marisa Biondi, Henry Lo, and other members of the Infant Cognition Laboratory at the University of Massachusetts Boston for their help with data collection.


In this study, 6-month-old infants' visual working memory for a static feature (color) and a dynamic feature (rotational motion) was compared. Comparing infants' use of different features can only be done properly if experimental manipulations to those features are equally salient (Kaldy & Blaser, 2009; Kaldy, Blaser, & Leslie, 2006). The interdimensional salience mapping method was used to find two objects that each were one Just Salient Difference from a common baseline object (N = 16). These calibrated stimuli were then used in a subsequent two-alternative forced-choice preferential looking memory test (N = 28). Results showed that infants noted the color change, but not the equally salient change in rotation speed.