Fifty Shades of Grey?

Posted by Susan Oliver on

Yes, grey.  ...and red and orange and green and blue too!  No, this is not a post about the 50 Shades of Grey 'let yourself give in to domination' pop culture phenomenon, but, more importantly, a post to learn about...

Before I had my son I had no idea about the complexities of Infant Visual Development.  It is, however, an extraordinarily fascinating area of development and so I thought I would share what I have learned.  (Hope this will also inform a few myths on the subject that seem to be widely held.)

Infant Visual Development (Did You Know?)

Visual Acuity: The ability to clearly perceive shapes and fine details. For the first few weeks infants see very simple shapes and patterns best at a distance of 8-12 inches away. By the fourth week this distance increases to about 18 inches and by three months as far as 15-20 feet, although they still prefer to look at things within three feet.   Acuity improves rapidly and is nearly adult-like by 6 months of age.

Contrast Sensitivity: The ability to distinguish shades in light and dark objects and to differentiate between an object and its background. Infants distinguish high contrast colours best: black & white in the first weeks, but by five months they are able to distinguish between several shades of one colour (including grey). 

Colour Vision: Red, green, yellow, blue: infants see in colour too! An infant’s sight is not simply black & white. Research has shown that a baby can see colour from the first day of life, and studies suggest that by three months of age babies prefer primary colours to black or white and by four months even have favourite colours!  (Studies have shown preferences for red, purple and blue.) 

Depth Perception: Infants develop clear perception of the three-dimensional environment within 5-7 months.

Visual Abilities & Preferences

• Research has shown that from the first few days of life infants have a preference for looking at faces and face-like patterns over other stimuli.

• Within the first few days of life, newborns are able to recognize their primary caregiver’s face and actually prefer it to that of a stranger’s. 

• At one month, infants will look primarily at the outer edges of a face - hairline, chin and top of the head.  

• By two months, infants begin to pay more attention to the internal features of the face such as eyes, nose and mouth, but appear to have no significant preference for either schematic or scrambled arrangements of facial features.  

• By the third month, infants begin to show a visual preference for schematic over scrambled faces. Additionally, as research has shown that infants respond to a direct gaze and a happy expression.   

• Studies have shown that infants commonly prefer stimuli with a moderate level of information and complexity, including quantity, colour, shape and pattern.

• In addition to faces, infants are attracted to Bold Graphic Patterns such as bull’s eye, alternating stripes and simple geometric shapes.

How ChickDuckGoose Faces of Modern Art eCards Support & Encourage Visual Development:

Acuity: Images include simple shapes and patterns.

Contrast: Images include both high contrast and subtle shading to benefit your baby at all stages.
Colour: Images are wonderfully colourful, so work well beyond the first few weeks of your baby’s abilities.

Click on the image to download a complimentary activity eCard that supports and encourages both visual development and visual preferences in babies from birth to 12 months! *Includes complimentary rhyming card.

Suggested Activities  

The following enriching activities provide opportunities for bonding and loving interaction for you and your infant through stimulating and playful exploration.  Please, snuggle up and enjoy time with your Chick!

Talk, Describe & Create: Talking – such a simple and intuitive thing to do, yet it has such impact and far-reaching significance. Talking to your infant in short, simple sentences helps to build language awareness – that is, the association of meanings with words – and vocabulary skills and helps build speech centres in the brain, which helps them later to learn to speak. It also builds a sense of security. Repeat the rhyme in a sing-song manner. Describe the colours and trace the shapes and features, which will lay a foundation for the basic concepts your infant will learn in his/her early years. Create an interesting or silly story about the image to begin the journey of imagination that your child will travel throughout their childhood and beyond.

Tracking & Perspective: With your very young infant (as early as two weeks), move the card in an arching pattern from side to side and then up and down to help strengthen eye muscles and to develop his/her ability to track. With your older infant (around six months), to help develop the concept of perspective, allow her/him to see you turn an image upside down and then give her/him the opportunity to turn it rig


Click on the image to discover the entire Faces of Modern Art Activity eCards set! 


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