Systems in development: motor skill acquisition facilitates three-dimensional object completion

Dev Psychol. 2010 Jan;46(1):129-38. doi: 10.1037/a0014618.


How do infants learn to perceive the backs of objects that they see only from a limited viewpoint? Infants' 3-dimensional object completion abilities emerge in conjunction with developing motor skills--independent sitting and visual-manual exploration. Infants at 4.5 to 7.5 months of age (n = 28) were habituated to a limited-view object and tested with volumetrically complete and incomplete (hollow) versions of the same object. Parents reported infants' sitting experience, and infants' visual-manual exploration of objects was observed in a structured play session. Infants' self-sitting experience and visual-manual exploratory skills predicted looking at the novel, incomplete object on the habituation task. Further analyses revealed that self-sitting facilitated infants' visual inspection of objects while they manipulated them. The results are framed within a developmental systems approach, wherein infants' sitting skill, multimodal object exploration, and object knowledge are linked in developmental time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Attention / physiology
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Discrimination Learning / physiology*
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Behavior / physiology*
  • Male
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Reaction Time
  • Statistics as Topic