An ideal observer model of infant object perception
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Before the age of 4 months, infants make inductive inference s about the motions of physical objects. Developmental psychologists have provided verbal accounts of the knowledge that supports these inferences, but often these accounts focus on categorical rather than probabilistic principles. We propose that infant object perception is guided in part by probabilistic principles like persistence : things tend to remain the same, and when they change they do so gradually. To illustrate this idea we develop an ideal observer model that incorporates probabilistic principles of rigidity and inertia. Like previous researchers, we suggest that rigid motions are expected from an early age, but we challenge the previous claim that the inertia principle is relatively slow to develop . We support these arguments by modeling several experiments from the developmental literature