Some views are better than others: evidence for a visual bias in object views self-generated by toddlers

Karin H. James, Susan S. Jones, Shelley Swain, Alfredo Pereira, Linda B. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


How objects are held determines how they are seen, and may thereby play an important developmental role in building visual object representations. Previous research suggests that toddlers, like adults, show themselves a disproportionate number of planar object views – that is, views in which the objects' axes of elongation are perpendicular or parallel to the line of sight. Here, three experiments address three explanations of this bias: (1) that the locations of interesting features of objects determine how they are held and thus how they are viewed; (2) that ease of holding determines object views; and (3) that there is a visual bias for planar views that exists independently of holding and of interesting surface properties. Children 18 to 24 months of age manually and visually explored novel objects (1) with interesting features centered in planar or ¾ views; (2) positioned inside Plexiglas boxes so that holding biased either planar or non‐planar views; and (3) positioned inside Plexiglas spheres, so that no object properties directly influenced holding. Results indicate a visual bias for planar views that is influenced by interesting surface properties and ease of holding, but that continues to exist even when these factors push for alternative views.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)338-351
JournalDevelopmental Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes

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