Postural position constrains multimodal object exploration in infants

Infancy. 2014 Mar;19(2):138-161. doi: 10.1111/infa.12039.


Recent research has revealed the important role of multimodal object exploration in infants' cognitive and social development. Yet, the real time effects of postural position on infants' object exploration have been largely ignored. In the current study, 5- to 7-month-old infants (N = 29) handled objects while placed in supported sitting, supine, and prone postures, and their spontaneous exploratory behaviors were observed. Infants produced more manual, oral, and visual exploration in sitting compared to lying supine and prone. Moreover, while sitting, infants more often coupled manual exploration with mouthing and visual examination. Infants' opportunities for learning from object exploration are embedded within a real time postural context that constrains the quantity and quality of exploratory behavior.

Keywords: exploration; infants; object manipulation; posture; sitting.