Research

Today my son and I went to the University. We’re starting him out young…

Actually, I agreed to have him participate in a study about infants’ perception of object size. They had some pictures of duckies of different sizes on a screen moving back and forth between windows of the same size and then from a large window to a small window and vice versa. His eye movements were recorded in order to determine interest, assuming that greater interest is shown by looking at an object for a greater length of time. Basically, they want to see if infant patterns of viewing such objects match with adults or if they differ.

Whenever I hear about studies of this type I wonder about the seemingly mundane nature of much research done with human subjects, but when enough data is collected, it may yield interesting results. For example, in our Early Childhood Family Education class session about toys, the teacher reported on a study that had been done to learn more about infant mouthing. (Something our son is really into these days.) That study observed infants who had been blindfolded with a bunch of toys in front of them. Researchers noted which toy each infant reached for and put in his mouth. Then, when the blindfold was removed, every infant selected the same toy he had mouthed. The conclusion drawn from this was that a young child learns enough about an object from mouthing it that he can identify and select it again when given an opportunity. So there is some empirical evidence for what people have believed for quite some time: a part of an infants’ learning involves putting things in their mouths.

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