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Picture Perception in Infants: Generalization From Two-Dimensional to Three-Dimensional Displays


should be sent to Gelareh Jowkar-Baniani, Department of Psychology, University of Toronto Scarborough, 1265 Military Trail, Toronto, ON, Canada M1C1A4. E-mail:


Two experiments investigated 9-month-old infants’ abilities to recognize the correspondence between an actual three-dimensional (3D) object and its two-dimensional (2D) representation, looking specifically at representations that did not literally depict the actual object: schematic line drawings. In Experiment 1, infants habituated to a line drawing of either a doll or a sheep and were then tested with the actual objects themselves. Infants habituated to the sheep drawing recovered to the unfamiliar but not the familiar object, showing a novelty preference. Infants habituated to the doll drawing, however, recovered to both familiar and unfamiliar objects, failing to show any preference between the two. In Experiment 2, infants habituated to the 3D objects and were then tested with the 2D line drawings. In this case, both groups of infants showed a preference only for the novel displays. Together these findings demonstrate that 9-month-old infants recognize the correspondence between 3D objects and their 2D representations, even when these representations are not literal copies of the objects themselves.