Discuss the utility and validity of methods used to assess object knowledge in human infants.

Researchers on infant cognition face some great methodological challenges when gaining evidence for their studies on infant’s object knowledge. The main problems are the differences between infants and adults. Firstly, infants can neither follow verbal instructions nor give a verbal response, and secondly, there is a wide variation (within and between subjects) in attention and motivation. Therefore, specific methods have been developed which involve specific behavioural, or cognitive neuroscience approaches to understanding infant cognition. The behavioural responses are subtle and sensitive measures, such as visual fixations, eye movements, sucking and a variety of psychophysical data (e.g. heart rate). The more direct measures of brain activity consist of sensory-evoked potentials, event-related potentials, EEG spectra and hemodynamic correlates (i.e. PET, fMRI, near infrared spectroscopy). However, despite the evidence for many theories that have been gained from using these methods, the limitations that arise from inferring infant cognition from such methods need to be considered. For more, visit www.scholify.com

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