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Many studies have been conducted in order to investigate what a newborn sees from the first moments of his life and how visual perception is developed.

In fact all normal infants have all thestructures necessary to see , but is their brain able to process this information, caught from their eyes, so the visual perception starts to develop?

The nature/nurture debate between Naturalistsand Empiricists, which we have studied in chapter one, extends to the visual perception too. Nativists believe that babies are born with the ability to perceive, while Empiricists oppose that anewborn baby can see but this sensory information cannot be organized and translated, so the new-born has to learn to perceive.

In order prove which of the two theories is the most relevant,many studies have been conducted, especially during the last decades.

Robert Frantz investigated the perceptual abilities of new-born babies and found that infants less than two days old candifferentiate visual forms and thus perceive these forms. In his study he used the preferential looking technique. He showed to the infant various objects and observed which object the infant looked atlonger. His hypothesis was that if an infant preferred looking more at an object than on another, this will show that he can perceive forms.

Frantz’s studies supported the nativist’s theory of visualperception being innate. Frantz believed that even though visual perception is innate, it is immature in new- born babies and it develops through the course of time, so he conducted severalexperiments to prove it.

In one experiment he presented to the babies striped and plain cards, and he discovered that infants looked longer at the striped card than at the plain one, so he concludedthat infants must be able to distinguish the stripes. Then he found that the visual perception is developing, since infants less than one year old could distinguish the 1/8’’ stripes at distance of...
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