Preference for point-light human biological motion in newborns: Contribution of translational displacement
Orliaguet, Jean Pierre
Pavlova, Marina A.
Gentaz, Édouard Édouard
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In human newborns, spontaneous visual preference for biological motion is reported to occur at birth, but the factors underpinning this preference are still in debate. Using a standard visual preferential looking paradigm, 4 experiments were carried out in 3-day-old human newborns to assess the influence of translational displacement on perception of human locomotion. Experiment 1 shows that human newborns prefer a point-light walker display representing human locomotion as if on a treadmill over random motion. However, no preference for biological movement is observed in Experiment 2 when both biological and random motion displays are presented with translational displacement. Experiments 3 and 4 show that newborns exhibit preference for translated biological motion (Experiment 3) and random motion (Experiment 4) displays over the same configurations moving without translation. These findings reveal that human newborns have a preference for the translational component of movement independently of the presence of biological kinematics. The outcome suggests that translation constitutes the first step in development of visual preference for biological motion.