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Abstract

We introduce a new paradigm for the assessment of auditory and visual categories in 6-month-old infants using a 2-alternative anticipatory eye-movement response. Infants were trained by 2 different methods to anticipate the location of a visual reinforcer at 1 of 2 spatial locations (right or left) based on the identity of 2 cuing stimuli. After a training phase, infants were presented with a series of generalization trials in which novel (untrained) stimuli served as the cue to the anticipatory eye movement. Four experiments illustrated that infants can learn the 2-choice discriminative response during training. Infants also showed anticipatory eye movements to novel stimuli, indicating sensitivity to variations along a variety of stimulus dimensions (e.g., color, shape, orientation, spatial frequency, pitch, and duration). In addition, the paradigm can be used to assess categorization in individual infants, thereby revealing the stimulus dimensions to which infants naturally attend.