Swapnaa Jayaraman

Postdoctoral researcher

Psychological and Brain Sciences,
Indiana University

The perceptual experiences of infants in the first few years of life begin a remarkable process of knowledge acquisition and set up the neural processes that support that development. My research aims to understand the structure in early visual environments and the role of that structure in visual development. I study the visual properties of early environments at three levels: low level properties, object-level attributes, temporal characteristics. I ask how the properties change with age, how they vary across individuals (and culture) and how they relate to development of visual sensitivities measured through neurophysiological and behavioral responses.

Characterizing early visual environments

The central project of my post-doctoral training has been the collection of a large corpus of infant perspective scenes: approximately 37 million frames from 76 infants aged 1 to 24 months of age. To do this, I use a head camera system that is easy for parents to use at home to record the scenes from their infant’s perspective. The data collected through this project is rich, multi-dimensional, and of broad interest, and it has immense scope for addressing a variety of unresolved questions about early visual experience.

Understanding role of experience on development

My hypothesis is that the protracted development of infant perceptual and cognitive abilities is primarily determined by the co-occurring changes in developmental experiences. I employ electroencephalography – event-related potentials in particular – to study the neural correlates of the changing input.