Perceptual & Motor Development
Lecture 3 - September 18th, 2013
Hello baby! -
When babies are born, they come equipped with capacities that aid in adapting to their environment.
These capacities are organized and meaningful.
Babies have a number of reflexes.
Some are valuable for survival.
Whereas, others disappear within the first year of life.
Ensuring survival: rooting, sucking, eye blink, withdrawal
Less obvious value: toe grasp, stepping
Reflexes’ value -
Reflexes are important in assessing baby’s central nervous system.
Serve as identifiers of developmental problems and other abnormal functions.
Neonatal Behavioural Assessment Scale (Brazelton, 1988).
Measures 20 different reflexes - sucking, rooting, etc.
Measures six other clusters of behaviours: Habituation, orientation, motor performance, range of state,
regulation of state, and autonomic regulation.
Scale important for helping parents to properly handle babies (Britt & Myers, 1994).
Infant State -
Recurring patterns of arousal.
Points to organization and predictability.
Required in understanding behaviour.
Incorporated or controlled for in various research studies.
Infant Crying -
Communicate distress and needs.
Important for parental care.
Various needs various types of crying.
Types of Crying -
Wiesenfeld et al. (1988) -
Sexual dimorphism – maternal instinct.
Examined parental responsiveness to familiar and unfamiliar infants.
(a) Ability to identify baby cry
(b) Autonomic responses (c) Subjective responses
Wiesenfeld et al. (1988): Results -
Mothers exhibited more defensive reactions than fathers.
Infant crying cont. -
Cooperative breeding theory – not specific to maternal care.
Time spent caring with infant important.
Gustaffson et al. (2012) -
Compared paternal and maternal responsiveness.
Controlled for amount of time spent with baby.
Parents showed high accuracy.
Time spent with baby was important factor.
With less than 4 hours, recognition decreased.
van Sleuwen et al. (2007) found that:
Calms infants and induces sleep.
Beneficial for preterm infants.
Can be harmful when misapplied.
Proper instruction and information are needed.
Sensory & Perceptual Development
Sensations & Perceptions -
Babies also have systems for sensations (what stimuli sensory receptors detect) and perceptions
(interpretations of these stimuli).
Focus on Habituation
Visual Preference -
Robert Fantz (1963).
Depends on infants’ tendency to habituate.
Looking at one stimulus over another = perception of difference & preference
Preference Method -
Minimal response required.
Basis of discrimination is hard to pinpoint.
Eye-movement recording and design.
Prefer human voices (Aslin, 1987) and infant-directed speech (Trainor, 1996).
Lullabies are universal (Grieser & Khul, 1988; Tomasello & Mannle, 19845).
Trehub et al. (1993) – identify infant-directed song:
(a) Expt. 1 – Singers and listeners from N. America (b) Expt. 2 – Singers from India; listeners from India & N. America