Dr. Yonas and staff research how visual perception develops in infants and children, from perceiving basic visual cues such as depth, to the more complex ability to perceive and remember faces.
The Yonas Visual Perception Lab is interested in better understanding a neurological disorder called developmental prosopagnosia, or "face blindness", a disorder that affects the ability to perceive and remember faces. Individuals suffering from developmental prosopagnosia have difficulty recognizing familiar faces; in extreme cases they may have difficulty recognizing faces of parents or siblings, or even their own face in a mirror. These individuals have no history of brain damage, but instead failed to develop the visual mechanisms that are necessary for recognizing faces. To learn more about prosopagnosia, click here.
Professor Yonas and his students also study visual depth perception, focusing on the developmental course of sensitivity to pictorial depth cues. The Yonas lab is also working with scientists in Japan. In collaboration with Aki Tsuruhara, we have found evidence that infants respond to depth provided by familiar size and height in the picture plain. Aki Tsuruhara used schematic face displays and compared binocular and monocular viewing in a preferential looking study. To learn more about these, infant studies page.
In Yonas Lab studies, participants as young as 4-months-old are presented with displays that provide information for some aspect of the environmental layout. The participants' response to these displays is recorded and from these observations we infer whether sensitivity to the information is present.