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Title: The Visual-Paired Comparison Task : limitations of the novelty preference as an index of memory
Author: Brown, Andrew David
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2007
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The Visual Paired Comparison task (VPC) is an established methodology for measuring infant recognition memory. The standard index ofmemory in this task is the novelty preference - longer looking at a new stimulus. However, a growing number ofstudies report a preference for the familiar stimulus. This thesis explores the parameters within which the VPC task produces a novelty preference, examining the variables of movement, interaction and emotion at learning. In Experiment I, infants were habituated to a moving, colourful puppet held by an experimenter. Six-, 9- and l2-month-olds demonstrated an attenuated novelty preference; 18 and 24 months demonstrated a familiarity preference. Removing the human experimenter from view attenuated the novelty preference at 6-, 12- and 18 months when the habituation was live, and attenuated the novelty preference at 6- and 18 months when the habituation was on pre-recorded video. In experiments 2-4, adults exhibited a novelty preference in the traditional VPC procedure and an attenuated novelty preference when there was social interaction with the stimulus. A static habituation face displaying emotion attenuated the novelty preference; a neutral habituation face and emotion displaying test stimulus resulted in a novelty preference. Experiment 6 introduced the importance ofaccounting for cortisol levels in infant memory research. The relationship between cortisol, emotion and memory was examined, with emphasis on the regulatory role of the amygdala in the developing memory system.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available