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Motor, Sensory, and Perceptual Development


Chapter 5 Outline

Motor Development

The Dynamic Systems View


Reflexes
Gross Motor Skills
Fine Motor Skills

Sensory and Perceptual Development

What are Sensations and Perception?


The Ecological View
Vision
Other Senses
Intermodal Perception

Perceptual-Motor Coupling
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Chapter 5

Preview

Think about what is required for children to nd their way around


their environment, to play sports, or to create art.
These activities require both active perception and precisely
timed motor actions.
Neither innate, automatic movements nor simple sensations are
enough to let children do the things they do every day.
How do children develop perceptual and motor abilities?

In this chapter, we will focus rst on the development of motor


skills, then on sensory and perceptual development, and
finally on the coupling of perceptual-motor skills.
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Motor Development
The Dynamic Systems View
Arnold Gesell

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developmentalist (1934)
revealed how people develop their motor skills
through observations
Children develop motor skills in a xed order and
within specic time frames.
Motor development comes about through the
unfolding of a genetic plan or maturation.
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Motor Development (cont.)


The Dynamic Systems Theory (continued)

Infants assemble motor skills for perceiving and acting.


Perception and action are coupled according to this
theory (Smith & Breazeal, 2007; Thelen, 1995, 2001; Thelen & Smith, 1998, 2006).

To develop motor skills, infants must perceive something


in the environment that motivates them to act and use
their perceptions to ne-tune their movements.
Motor skills represent solutions to the infants goals.

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Motor Development (cont.)


The Dynamic Systems Theory (continued)

When infants are motivated to do something, they create


a new motor behavior.
The new behavior is the result of many converging
factors:
- development of the nervous system
- the bodys physical properties and its possibilities for
movement
- the goal the child is motivated to reach
- the environmental support for the skill

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Motor Development (cont.)


The Dynamic Systems Theory (continued)

Mastering a motor skill requires the infants


active efforts to coordinate several components
of the skill.

Infants explore and select possible solutions to


the demands of a new task.

Infants assemble adaptive patterns by modifying


their current movement patterns.

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Motor Development (cont.)


The Dynamic Systems Theory (continued)

Universal milestones, such as crawling, reaching, and walking, are


learned through the process of adaptation:

Infants modulate their movement patterns to t a new task by


exploring and selecting possible congurations (Adolph & Joh, 2007,
2008; Thelen & Smith, 2006).

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Motor development is not a passive process in which genes


dictate the unfolding of a sequence of skills over time.
The infant actively puts together a skill to achieve a goal within
the constraints set by the infants body and environment.
Nature and nurture, the infant, and the environment, are all
working together as part of an ever-changing system.
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Motor Development (cont.)


Reflexes

built-in reactions to stimuli


govern the newborns movements, which are automatic
and beyond the newborns control

are genetically carried survival mechanisms


allow infants to respond adaptively to their environment
before they have had the opportunity to learn

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Motor Development (cont.)


Reflexes (continued)
Rooting reex:

occurs when the infants cheek is stroked or the side of the


mouth is touched
infant turns its head toward the side that was touched in an
apparent effort to nd something to suck

Sucking reex:

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occurs when newborns automatically suck an object placed in


their mouths
This reex enables newborns to get nourishment before they
have associated a nipple with food.
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Motor Development (cont.)


Reflexes (continued)
The Moro reex

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occurs in response to a sudden, intense noise or


movement
When startled, the newborn arches its back, throws
back its head, and ings out its arms and legs. Then
the newborn rapidly closes its arms and legs.
believed to be a way of grabbing for support while
falling
had survival value for our primate ancestors
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Motor Development (cont.)


Reflexes (continued)
The Grasping reex

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occurs when something touches infants palms


infant responds by grasping tightly

By the end of the third month, the grasping reex


diminishes, and the infant shows a more voluntary
grasp.

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Motor Development (cont.)

Reflexes (continued)
Some reflexes, such as coughing, blinking, and
yawning, persist and continue to be important
throughout life.

Other reflexes disappear several months


following birth as the brain matures and
voluntary control over many behaviors develops.

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Motor Development (cont.)


Infant Reflexes

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Motor Development (cont.)


Gross Motor Skills

involve large-muscle activities


moving ones arms
walking

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Motor Development (cont.)


Gross Motor Skills (continued)
The Development of Posture
dynamic process linked with sensory information from:
proprioceptive cues, which tell us where we are in space
in skin, joints, and muscles
vestibular organs that regulate balance and equilibrium
in the inner ear
vision and hearing

Newborns cannot voluntarily control their posture.

Within a few weeks, infants can hold their heads erect


and soon they can lift their heads while prone.
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Motor Development (cont.)


Gross Motor Skills (continued)
The Development of Posture (continued)

By 2 months of age, babies can sit while supported on


a lap or in an infant seat.
sit independently at 6 or 7 months of age
standing develops gradually during the 1st year
By about 8 months of age, infants usually learn to pull
themselves up and hold onto a chair, and many can
stand alone by about 10-12 months of age.

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Motor Development (cont.)


Gross Motor Skills (continued)
Learning to Walk
Locomotion and postural control are closely linked,
especially in walking upright (Adolph & Joh, 2007, 2008).
To walk upright, the baby must be able both to
balance on one leg as the other is swung forward and
to shift the weight from one leg to the other.
Most infants do not learn to walk until about the time
of their 1st birthday.
In learning to locomote, infants learn what kinds of
places and surfaces are safe for locomotion (Adolph & Joh,
2007, 2008).
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Motor Development (cont.)


The Role of Experience in Crawling and Walking Infants Judgments of Whether to Go Down a
Slope

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Motor Development (cont.)


Milestones in Gross Motor Development

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Motor Development (cont.)


Gross Motor Skills (continued)
Development in the 2nd Year
more motorically skilled and mobile; motor activity during the 2nd year
vital to childs competent development
By 13-18 months, toddlers can:
pull a toy attached to a string
use their hands and legs to climb up a number of steps

By 18-24 months, toddlers can:

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walk quickly or run stify for a short distance


balance on their feet in a squat position while playing with objects on the
oor
walk backward without losing their balance
stand and kick a ball without falling
stand and throw a ball
jump in place.
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Motor Development (cont.)


Gross Motor Skills (continued)
Development in the Second Year (continued)
Physical tness classes for babies range from passive
fare to programs called aerobic because they
demand crawling, tumbling, and ball skills.
Pediatricians recommend that exercise for infants
should not be the intense, aerobic variety.

Babies cannot adequately stretch their bodies to


achieve aerobic benets.

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Motor Development (cont.)


Fine Motor Skills
involve nely tuned movements

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grasping a toy
using a spoon,
buttoning a shirt
doing anything that requires nger dexterity

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Motor Development (cont.)


Fine Motor Skills (continued)
Infants
Infants have hardly any control over ne motor skills at birth.
During the 1st 2 years of life, infants rene their reaching and
grasping (Smitsman, 2004).
Initially, infants move their shoulders and elbows crudely, but
later they move their wrists, rotate their hands, and coordinate
their thumb and forenger.

The infants grasping system is very exible.

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Motor Development (cont.)


Fine Motor Skills (continued)
Infants (continued)
Just as infants need to exercise their gross motor
skills, they also need to exercise their fine motor skills
(Barrett, Davis, & Needham, 2007; Keen, 2005; Needham, 2008).

Experience plays a role in reaching and grasping


(Needham, 2008).

Perceptual-motor coupling is necessary for the infant


to coordinate grasping (Keen, 2005).

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Motor Development (cont.)


Infants Use of Sticky Mittens to Explore Objects

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Sensory and Perceptual Development


What are Sensations and Perceptions?
Sensation
occurs when information interacts with sensory
receptors
the eyes, ears, tongue, nostrils, and skin

sensation of hearing:
occurs when waves of pulsating air are collected by outer ear
and transmitted through bones of the inner ear to auditory
nerve

sensation of vision:
occurs as rays of light contact the eyes, become focused on
the retina, and are transmitted by the optic nerve to the visual
centers of the brain
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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


What are Sensations and Perceptions?
Perception

(continued)

the interpretation of what is sensed


The air waves that contact the ears might be
interpreted as noise or as musical sounds, for
example.
The physical energy transmitted to the retina of the
eye might be interpreted as a particular color, pattern,
or shape.

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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


The Ecological View

Much of the research on perceptual development in infancy has


been guided by the ecological view of Eleanor and James J.
Gibson (E. Gibson, 1969, 1989, 2001; J. Gibson, 1966, 1979).

They argue that we do not have to take bits and pieces of data
from sensations and build up representations of the world in our
minds.

Instead, our perceptual system can select from the rich


information that the environment itself provides.

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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


The Ecological View (continued)

We directly perceive information that exists in the world


around us.
Perception brings us into contact with the environment in
order to interact with and adapt to it.
Perception is designed for action.
In Gibsons view, all objects have affordances:

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opportunities for interaction offered by objects that are necessary


to perform activities
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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


Research in Child Development
Studying the Newborns Perception
Visual Preference Method
Robert Fantz (1963) was pioneer
Fantz made an important discovery that advanced the ability of
researchers to investigate infants visual perception:
infants look at different things for different lengths of time
infants only 2 days old look longer at patterned stimuli, such as
faces and concentric circles, than at red, white, or yellow discs
Infants 2 to 3 weeks old prefer to look at patternsa face, a
piece of printed matter, or a bulls-eyelonger than at red,
yellow, or white discs
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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


Frantzs Experiment on Infants Visual Perception

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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


Research in Child Development (continued)
Studying the Newborns Perception (continued)

Habituation and Dishabituation


another way that researchers have studied infant
perception
Habituation: name given to decreased
responsiveness to a stimulus after repeated
presentations of the stimulus
Dishabituation: the recovery of a habituated
response after a change in stimulation
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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


Habituation and Dishabituation

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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


Research in Child Development (continued)
Studying the Newborns Perception (continued)

High-Amplitude Sucking
used to assess infants attention to sound
Infants are given a nonnutritive nipple to suck, and
the nipple is connected to a sound generating
system.
Each suck causes a noise to be generated and the
infant learns quickly that sucking brings about this
noise.
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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


Research in Child Development (continued)
Studying the Newborns Perception (continued)
The Orienting Response
used to determine if an infant can see or hear
involves turning ones head toward a sight or sound (Keen,
2005).

Tracking
consists of eye movements that follow (track) a moving
object
used to evaluate infants early visual ability or a startle
response
can be used to determine an infants reaction to a noise
(Bendersky & Sullivan, 2007)
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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


Research in Child Development (continued)
Studying the Newborns Perception (continued)
Equipment
Technology can facilitate the use of most methods for investigating
the infants perceptual abilities:
videotape
high-speed computers
other equipment provide clues to what the infant is perceivingit records:
- respiration
- heart rate
- body movement
- visual xation
- sucking behavior
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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


Vision
Infancy

Visual Acuity and Human Faces

newborn perceives world with some order


cannot see small things that are far away
vision is estimated to be 20/600
At birth, the nerves, muscles, and lens of the eye are still
developing.
By about the 1st birthday, the infants vision approximates
that of an adult (Banks & Salapatek, 1983).

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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


Visual Acuity During the First Months of Life

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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


Vision (continued)
Infancy (continued)
Visual Acuity and Human Faces (continued)
By 3 months of age, infants:
match voices to faces
distinguish between male and female faces
discriminate between faces of their own ethnic group and
those of other ethnic groups (Kelly & others, 2007, a, b)

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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


How 1 and 2 Month-Old Infants Scan the Human Face

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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


Vision (continued)
Infancy (continued)

Color Vision
By 8 weeks, infants can discriminate some colors (Kelly,
Borchert, & Teller, 1997).

By 4 months, they have color preferences.


Changes in vision reflect maturation.

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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


Vision (continued)
Infancy (continued)

Color Vision (continued)


Early experience is essential for the normal development of
the ability to use the cues to depth and distance that come
from binocular vision.
Binocular vision: combines into one image
Newborns do not have binocular vision; it develops at about
3 to 4 months of age (Slater, Field, & Hernandez-Reif, 2007).

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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


Vision (continued)
Infancy (continued)

Perceiving Patterns
Infants look at different things for different lengths of time
(Fantz, 1963).

2-3 month-old infants prefer to look at patterned displays


rather than non-patterned displays. For example:
prefer to look at a normal human face rather than one
with scrambled features
prefer to look at a bulls-eye target or black-and-white
stripes rather than a plain circle

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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


Vision (continued)
Infancy (continued)

Perceptual Constancy
sensory stimulation is changing, but perception of physical
world remains constant
allows the infant to perceive its world as stable
size constancy and shape constancy

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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


Vision (continued)
Infancy (continued)

Size Constancy
recognition that an object remains the same even though the
retinal image of the object changes

Shape Constancy
recognition that an object remains the same shape even
though its orientation to us changes

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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


Vision (continued)
Infancy (continued)

Depth Perception
recognition that an object remains the same even though the
retinal image of the object changes
Gibson and Walk (1960) explored whether young children
perceive depth using the visual cliff.

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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


Examining Infants Depth Perception on the Visual Cliff

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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


Vision (continued)
Infancy (continued)

Visual Expectations
Infants develop expectations about future events in their
world by the time they are 3 months of age.
As infants develop, their experiences with objects help them
to understand physical laws.

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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


Hearing
The Fetus, Infant, and Child

During the last 2 months of pregnancy, the fetus can


hear sounds; newborns are sensitive to the sounds of
human speech.
Hearing changes in infancy involve a sounds
loudness, pitch, and localization.
Infants cannot hear soft sounds well and are less
sensitive than adults are to pitch: the perception of
the frequency of a sound

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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


Hearing in the Womb

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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


Hearing (continued)
The Fetus, Infant, and Child (continued)
Newborns show a preference for certain sounds:
(Saffran, Werker, & Werner, 2006).

recording of their mothers voice to the voice of an unfamiliar


woman
mothers native language to a foreign language
classical music of Beethoven to rock music of Aerosmith (Flohr &
others, 2001)

Changes during infancy involve a sounds loudness,


pitch, and localization.
Newborns are especially sensitive to the sounds of
human speech (Hollich & Houston, 2007).
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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


Hearing (continued)
The Fetus, Infant, and Child (continued)

Babies are born into the world prepared to respond to


the sounds of any human language.
In the 2nd half of the 1st year of life, infants become
native listeners- especially attuned to the sounds of
their native language (Jusczyk, 2002).

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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


Hearing (continued)
The Fetus, Infant, and Child (continued)
About 1 in 1,000 newborns are deaf (Mason & Hermann, 1998).
Hearing aids or surgery can improve hearing (Davids & others, 2007).
1/3 of all U.S. children from birth-3 years of age have 3 or more
episodes of otitis media, a middle-ear infection that can impair
hearing temporarily (Renouf, 2007; Viastos, Hajiioannou, & Houlakis, 2007).
The infection can develop into a more chronic condition in which
the middle ear becomes lled with uid; this can seriously impair
hearing.

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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


Other Senses
Touch and Pain
Touch
Newborns respond to touch.

Pain
Newborns can feel pain.

Smell and Taste


Newborns can differentiate odors.

Taste
Sensitivity to taste might be present before birth.

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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


Newborns Preference for the Smell of Their Mothers Breast Pad

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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


Newborns Facial Responses to Basic Tastes

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Sensory and Perceptual Development (cont.)


Intermodal Perception
Involves integrating information from 2 or more sensory
modalities, such as vision and hearing.
Crude exploratory forms of intermodal perception exist
in newborns.
These exploratory forms of intermodal perception
become sharpened with experience in the rst year of
life (Banks, 2005; Hollich, Newman, & Jusczyk, 2005).
Babies are born into the world with some innate
abilities to perceive relations among sensory
modalities, but their intermodal abilities improve
considerably through experience (Bahrick & Hollich, 2008).
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Perceptual-Motor Coupling
Perceptual-Motor Coupling
Perceptual and motor development do not occur in
isolation from one another; instead, they are coupled.
Babies coordinate their movements with perceptual
information to learn how to maintain balance, reach for
objects in place, and move across various surfaces.
Action educates perception.
Perceptual and motor development do not occur in
isolation from each other but instead, are coupled.

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