Learning by looking: Infants' social looking behavior across the transition from crawling to walking

J Exp Child Psychol. 2008 Aug;100(4):297-307. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2008.03.005. Epub 2008 May 2.


This study investigated how infants gather information about their environment through looking and how that changes with increases in motor skills. In Experiment 1, 9.5- and 14-month-olds participated in a 10-min free play session with both a stranger and ambiguous toys present. There was a significant developmental progression from passive to active social engagement, as evidenced by younger infants watching others communicate more and older infants making more bids for social interaction. Experiment 2 examined longitudinally the impact of age and walking onset on this progression. The transition to independent walking marked significant changes in how often infants watched others communicate and made active bids for social interaction. Results suggest that infants transition from passive observers as crawlers to active participants in their social environment with the onset of walking.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child Development*
  • Cues
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Behavior*
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Locomotion*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Motor Skills*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Social Behavior
  • Social Perception*
  • Visual Perception
  • Walking