Habituation and related procedures are the primary behavioral tools used to assess perceptual and cognitive competence in early infancy. This article introduces a neurally constrained computational model of infant habituation. The model combines the two leading process theories of infant habituation into a single functional system that is grounded in functional brain circuitry. The HAB model (for Habituation, Autoassociation, and Brain) proposes that habituation behaviors emerge from the opponent, complementary processes of hippocampal selective inhibition and cortical long-term potentiation. Simulations of a seminal experiment by Fantz [Visual experience in infants: Decreased attention familiar patterns relative to novel ones. Science, 146, 668–670, 1964] are reported. The ability of the model to capture the fine detail of infant data (especially age-related changes in performance) underlines the useful contribution of neurocomputational models to our understanding of behavior in general, and of early cognition in particular.

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