Day 6: embryo begins implantation in the uterus.
Day 22: heart begins to beat with the child's own
blood, often a different type than the mothers'.
Week 3: By the end of third week the child's
backbone spinal column and nervous system are
forming. The liver, kidneys and intestines begin to
Week 4: By the end of week fourth the child is
ten thousand times larger than the fertilized egg.
Week 5: Eyes, legs, and hands begin to develop.
Week 6: At 6 weeks, the embryo is just over half
an inch long. As shown in this photograph, the
arms and legs are just beginning to grow, and
the head area is extremely large compared to its
size after birth. The embryo is shown here in the
amniotic sac, which is filled with fluid to protect
it. Brain waves are detectable; mouth and lips
are present; fingernails are forming.
Week 7: Eyelids, and toes form, nose
distinct. The baby is kicking and swimming.
Week 8: Every organ is in place, bones begin to
replace cartilage, and fingerprints begin to
form. By the 8th week the baby can begin to
Weeks 9 and 10: 3 inches, 1 ounce Teeth begin
to form, fingernails develop. The baby can turn
his head, and frown. The baby can hiccup.
Weeks 10 and 11: The baby can "breathe"
amniotic fluid and urinate. Week 11 the baby
can grasp objects placed in its hand; all organ
systems are functioning. The baby has a skeletal
structure, nerves, and circulation.
Week 12: The baby has all of the parts necessary
to experience pain, including nerves, spinal
cord, and thalamus. Vocal cords are
complete. The baby can suck its thumb.
Week 14: At this age, the baby is 6 inches long
the heart pumps several quarts of blood through
the body every day. The heart beats120-150
beats per minute and brain waves detectable.
Week 15: The baby has an adult's taste buds.
Month 4: Bone Marrow is now beginning to
form. The heart is pumping 25 quarts of blood a
day. By the end of month 4 the baby will be 8-10
inches in length and will weigh up to half a
pound. At about 4½ months of prenatal
development, the foetus is about 10 inches long
and weighs approximately 9 ounces. As shown in
this photograph, the foetus shows the reflexive
movement of sucking its thumb. This activity
appears remarkably similar to thumb-sucking in
Week 19: The baby is 8 inches. Babies can
routinely be saved at 21 to 22 weeks after
fertilization, and sometimes they can be saved
even younger. Eyebrows and lashes appear and
nails appear on fingers and toes. This is an
exciting time for the parents: The mother can feel
the foetus moving ("quickening") and the foetal
heartbeat can be heard with a stethoscope.
Week 20: The earliest stage at which Partial
birth abortions are performed. At 20 weeks
the baby recognizes its' mothers voice.
Months 5 and 6: The baby practices
breathing by inhaling amniotic fluid into its
developing lungs. The baby will grasp at the
umbilical cord when it feels it. Most mothers
feel an increase in movement, kicking, and
hiccup from the baby. Oil and sweat glands
are now functioning. The baby is now twelve
inches long or more, and weighs up to one
and a half pounds. After 5.5 months, the
baby only grows in size. It grows 4mm a week.
Months 7: 15 inches, 2 lbs. 11 oz Eyeteeth are present. The
baby opens and closes his eyes. The baby is using four of the
five senses (vision, hearing, taste, and touch.)
Month 8- 15 to 17 inches, 4 lbs. 6 oz.: These weeks see further
development towards independent life: There is a rapid
increase in the amount of body fat and the foetus begins
storing its own iron, calcium, and phosphorus. The bones are
fully developed, but still soft and pliable. There are rhythmic
breathing movements present, the foetal body temperature is
partially self-controlled, and there is increased central nervous
system control over body functions.
Month 9- 19 to 21 inches, the baby weighs 7 or 8 pounds. At 38
weeks, the foetus is considered full term. It fills the entire uterus,
and its head is the same size around as its shoulders. The
mother supplies the foetus with the antibodies it needs to
protect it against disease He knows the difference between
waking and sleeping, and can relate to the moods of the
mother. The baby's skin begins to thicken, and a layer of fat is
produced and stored beneath the skin. Antibodies are built
up, and the baby's heart begins to pump 300 gallons of blood
per day. Approximately one week before the birth the baby
stops growing, and "drops" usually head down into the pelvic
Zygote- Zygote or zygocyte, is the
initial cell formed when two gamete cells are
joined by means of sexual reproduction. In
multicellular organisms, it is the earliest
developmental stage of the embryo..
Zygotes are usually produced by
a fertilization event between
two haploid cells—an ovum (female gamete)
and a sperm cell (male gamete)—which
combine to form the single diploid cell. Such
zygotes contain DNA derived from both the
parents, and this provides all the genetic
information necessary to form a new
EMBRYOis a multicellular diploid eukaryote in
its earliest stage of development, from
the time of first cell division until In
humans, it is called an embryo until
about eight weeks
after fertilization (i.e. ten weeks Last
Menstrual Period or LMP), and from
then it is instead called a foetus.
In their first few days, neonates lose as much
as 10% of their body weight primarily because
of loss of fluids. They begin to gain weight
again at about fifth day and are generally
back to birth weight by the 10th or 14th day.
Many new-borns have a pinkish cast; their skin
is so thin that it barely covers the capillaries.
During the first few days some neonates are
very hairy because of some of the lanugo, a
fuzzy prenatal hair, has not yet fallen off. All
new babies are covered with vernix caseosa
(cheesy varnish) an oily protection against
infection that dries within the first few days.
Newborns are far from totally helpless, passive, and
non-reactive creatures as opposed to the earlier
view. They are highly competent organisms with
surprisingly well developed reflexes and sensory
responses and they are surprisingly well equipped to
begin adapting to their new environments from the
first moments they are born. Nor are their responses
random and disorganized; rather newborns show a
capacity to respond in an organised meaningful
way, their mental activities are quiet complex as
well. They initiate social interactions and can also
see, hear, taste, smell, feel pressure and pain. They
are very selective in what they look at and are able
to learn much more than what scientists had earlier
assumed. They are though physically immature and
dependent on the care-giver or the mother and their
cognitive ability is also very limited.
Some of the first reflexes in the new-borns are permanent and some
disappear during the first year of life. A number of these reflexes have
obvious value in helping to ensure their survival. For e.g. the rooting
and sucking reflexes help the new-borns to locate and obtain food,
eye blink helps to shield the eyes from excessively strong light and
the withdrawal reflexes helps to protect the baby from painful and
possibly harmful stimulus.
Some of the reflexes in the new-borns are permanent and some
disappear with time. If these reflexes don‘t happen it indicates some
malfunctioning. For e.g.Eye blink is permanent
Pupillary is permanent
Moro (startle) disappears around 4-6 months of age.
Rage disappears around 3-4 months.
Babinski it usually disappears around 8-12 months but it is absent in
babies with spine problems.
Tonic neck disappears around 4 months.
Planter or toe-grasp disappears between 8-12 months
Palmar grasp is initially intense but disappears by 3-4 months and is
replaced by voluntary grasp within a month or so.
Adaptive value of Reflexes
Reflexes vary in utility. Some have a
survival value. An example is the
rooting reflex, which helps a breastfed
infant find the mother's nipple. Babies
display it only when hungry and
touched by another person, not when
they touch themselves. There are a
few reflexes that probably helped
babies survive during human
evolutionary past like the Moro reflex.
motor skill is a learned sequence of
movements that combine to produce a
smooth, efficient action in order to master
a particular task. The development of
motor skill occurs in the motor cortex, the
region of the cerebral cortex that controls
voluntary muscle groups. Babies adapt
their reflexes to changes in the
stimulation. Some reflexes may be related
to voluntary behaviour in subtle ways,
some reflexes may disappear early, but
motor functions may renew later in
Many factors contribute to the ability and the rate that
children develop their motor skills. Uncontrollable factors
include: genetic or inherited traits and children with
learning disorders. Controllable factors include: the
environment/society and culture they are born to. A child
born in the city is much less likely to have the same
opportunities to explore, hike, or trek the outdoors than
one born in the rural area. For a child to successfully
develop motor skills, he or she must receive many
opportunities to physically explore the surroundings.
Infantile: Early movements made by very young infants
are largely reflexive. An infant is exposed to a variety of
perceptual experiences through the senses. Gradually,
the infant learns that certain involuntary, reflexive
movements can result in pleasurable sensory experiences,
and will attempt to repeat the motions voluntarily in order
to experience the pleasurable sensation.
Importance of assessing new born reflexes that it helps
To assess the health of the baby‘s nervous system.
To diagnose brain damaged infants
To distinguish between normal & abnormal functioning of
State is a concept that is operationally defined in
many ways. Some define it as configurations of
analogue signals recorded from electrodes placed on
the subject others define it as mixture of physiological
signal along with behavioural variables. Behavioural
researchers are in agreement with two major sleep
states- Active sleep (REM) and quiet sleep (NON-REM).
Most commonly used behavioural state systems are
those of Wolff (1966). Wolff (1966) classified states asRegular sleep (REM)
Irregular sleep (NREM)
Waking activities & crying
Babies, like adults, have various stages and depths
of sleep. Depending on the stage, the baby may
actively move or lie very still. Infant sleep patterns
begin forming during the last months of pregnancy active sleep first, then quiet sleep by about the
eighth month. There are two types of sleep:
REM (rapid eye movement sleep)
This is a light sleep when dreams occur and the eyes
move rapidly back and forth. Although babies spend
about 16 hours each day sleeping, about half of this
is in REM sleep. Older children and adults sleep fewer
hours and spend much less time in REM sleep.
A baby enters stage 1 at the beginning of the
sleep cycle, and then moves into stage 2, then 3,
then 4, then back to 3, then 2, then to REM. These
cycles may occur several times during sleep. Babies
may awaken as they pass from deep sleep to light
sleep and may have difficulty going back to sleep in
the first few months.
Non-REM has 4 stages:
› Stage 1 –
drowsiness - eyes droop, may open
and close, dozing
› Stage 2 –
light sleep - the baby moves and may
startle or jump with sounds
› Stage 3 –
deep sleep - the baby is quiet and
does not move
› Stage 4 –
very deep sleep - the baby is quiet and
does not move
Developed by Dr T. Berry Brazelton in Boston,
Mass, USA during the 1960's & first published in
With 28 behavioural items each scored on a
9-point scale, which assess the infant's
behavioural response to positive and negative
The materials used for the assessment are a
torch, bell, rattle, and a red ball to look at
habituation and orientation. The examiner's
face and voice are also used for orientation.
There are 18 reflex items, each scored on a 4point scale, which assess the infant's
neurological status, although it is a screening
tool and is not diagnostic.
Learning refers to changes in behaviour as a
result of experience. Babies come into the
world with built in learning capacities.
The 4 learning approaches of learning in infants Conditioning
› Classical conditioning
› Operant conditioning
Habituation and recovery
Pairing of a neutral stimulus with a
stimulus that leads to a reflexive response
› New stimulus produces behavior by itself
Present in newborns
› Blass et al (1984)
Breast milk (UCS) --> Sucking (UCR)
Pair forehead stroking (NS) with breast milk (UCS)
Forehead stroking (CS) --> sucking (CR)
Occurs most easily when association
between UCS and UCR has survival value
Learning about the consequences of one‘s own
› Act on the environment
› Subsequent stimuli will either increase or decrease the
probability of that behavior occurring again
Positive reinforce increases occurrence of
Present in newborns but initially limited to sucking
and head-turning responses
› Newborns produce head turns for sucrose
Range of responses increases with age
› Infants between 2 and 6 months of age learn
contingency relations between leg kicking and mobile
is a decrease in an
elicited behaviour resulting from the repeated
presentation of an eliciting stimulus (a simple
form of learning).
Onset of stimulus
Habituation (Sound continues)
Recovery (Stimulus changes)
is some change in the stimulus/environment
causing responsiveness to return to a high
level. It is an increase in response to novel
stimuli. Infant can distinguish between two
different stimuli. Habituation and recovery are
adaptive; enables infants to attend to things
they know the least about.
The new-borns capacity to imitate
extends to certain gestures such as head
movements and has been
demonstrated in many ethnic groups
and cultures. Neonates may form
cognitive representations of the model‘s
behaviour, which they then translate into
motor movements of a similar type.
Three different types of cries in infantsBasic cry, which is a systematic cry with a
pattern of crying and silence. The basic
cry starts with a cry coupled with a briefer
silence, which is followed by a short highpitched aspiratory whistle. Then, there is a
brief silence followed by another cry.
Hunger is a main stimulant of the basic
Anger cry is much like the basic
cry; however, in this cry, more
excess air is forced through the
vocal cords, making it a
louder, more abrupt cry. This type
of cries is characterized by the
same temporal sequence as the
basic pattern but distinguished by
differences in the length of the
various phase components.
Pain cry, which, unlike the
other two, has no
preliminary moaning. The
pain cry is one loud
cry, followed by a period of
Ethological Theory- It was given by Bell &
Ainsworth in 1972. According to this theory
maternal responsiveness is adaptive & it ensures
the infant‘s basic needs will be met & provide
protection from danger.
2) Behaviourist’s position- It was given by Boyd &
Gewirtz in 1977. According to this theory,
consistently responding to a crying infant
reinforces the crying response & result in a
whiny, demanding child.
3) Sucking a pacifier-may also sooth a baby more
rapidly than other methods (Campos, 1989).
Studies also say that
There is no easy formula for how caregivers
should respond to cries. It depends on culture,
contexts, intensity & suspected reason for cry.
Intensity crying (Distress, hunger, wet,
uncomfortable) should be responded to
Milder crying for a nap can reinforce crying
The term "motor development" refers to age
related changes in our capacity for voluntary
physical movement. Baby's physical skills
develop by progressing from the torso
outward to the fingers. They are skills that
involve large-muscle activities such as moving
one‘s arms and walking.
Gross motor skills are the ability to control
the large muscles of the body. These are
associated with the movement of the
torso, arms and legs. Children will develop
at their own speed and pace, and there is
a wide range of healthy ages at which
they can achieve these milestones.
Milestones help organize and summarize
this information easily and clearly.
Fine motor skills are the ability to use
the small muscles of the body,
especially the hands and
fingers. Although these skills develop
at the same time as gross motor skills,
they tend to lag behind a bit,
because the large muscles must be
able to put the body in place for the
small muscles to play their part.
From birth to around 2 months, babies are
"pre-reaching." They will extend their arm and
hand toward an object that interests them,
but they will rarely be able to make hand
contact with that object. In those two early
months, baby's vision is beginning to develop
the acuity and focus needed to grab an
object they see. There is poor coordination
which is rarely successful. As their eyesight
matures, babies can reach with more
accuracy and make contact with objects,
usually around age 3 months.
Voluntary Reaching It starts at 3-4 months of
age. Baby‘s initial attempt to
reach, grasp, and manipulate an object is
an extremely important sign of motor
development. First sign of voluntary reach
and grasp is around 4 months of age. The
reach and grasp seems to appear
simultaneously. It starts with one-handed
reaching. The child reaches when he sees
an object. Once the child makes manual
contact with the object, vision facilitates
hand closure (grasp). Child decides when
to grasp based on what they visually
perceive. By the age of 5 months infants
may reduce efforts to reach a difficult
Ulnar grasprefers to an early manipulatory skill in
which an infant grasps objects by
pressing the fingers against the palm.
Ulnar grasp is a method of grasping
objects in which the fingers close
somewhat clumsily against the palm.
Pincer Grasp- Pincer grasp or whole-hand
grasp, wherein both palm and the fingers,
including the thumb, are involved in holding
objects. Children are usually able to use a
pincer grasp by the age of 9 to 10 months. It is
a well coordinated grasp involving thumb
and forefinger opposition. It is said that motor
development influences cognitive
development as well.
refers to changes in
children's mastery of
Mary Shirley outlined the locomotor milestones
in 1933(Shirley 1933). The sequence also
included milestones such as sitting with or
without support. This sequence was assumed
to invariant in nature and was consistent
across all cultures with cultural and individual
differences. Even though there can be
substantial variability in the patterning of early
motor responses, the basic order and
occurrences of these milestones are still
relevant today. Locomotor skills according to
Shirley emerge from the interplay among a
variety of developing components like
perceptual, affective, attention, and
motivational components. All the
components have to be ready ant an
appropriate maturational status & context
before behaviour is evident.
The CEPHALOCAUDAL PRINCIPLE states
that growth follows a pattern that begins with
the head and upper body parts and then
proceeds to the rest of the body.
The PROXIMODISTAL PRINCIPLE states that
development proceeds from the center of the
The physical growth & motor control
follows the same trend during infancy &
The use of dynamical systems theory as a
framework for the consideration of development
began in the early 1990s and has continued into
the present century. According to this
theory, motor skills are dynamic systems of
actions, i.e., they are not a series of
isolated, unrelated accomplishments.
Combinations of previously acquired skills lead to
more advanced ways of exploring & controlling
Each new skill according to this theory is a joint
product ofCNS development
Movement possibilities of the body
Goals the child has in mind
Environmental supports for the skills.
Mastering a motor skill requires
the infant‘s active efforts to
coordinate several components
of the skill. Infants explore and
select possible solutions to the
demands of the new task: they
assemble adaptive patterns by
modifying their current
Bernstein, 1967 said that motor
development doesn‘t stem from the
unfolding of prewired maturational
programs, but rather from active
exploration by the infant within the
constraints & boundaries of his/her
biological limitations & demands of the
It is a complex transaction of nature v/s
Heredity sets limits to motor development
Environment can control the rate and
timing of emergence of the skills.
Stimulation can be helpful but degree &
timing must be carefully considered if
maximal effectiveness is to be achieved.
Motor development in infants with visual
impairments is slow, especially reaching
& independent walking.
They are benefited by training &
They learn to use a combination of
sounds & touch to identify people &
Sensations occur when information acts
with sensory receptors like eyes, ears,
tongue, nose & skin. Perception is the
interpretation of what is sensed.
a) Sensory organs absorb energy from a
physical stimulus in the environment.
b) Sensory receptors convert this energy
into neural impulses and send them to the
The brain organizes the information and
translates it into something meaningful.
The Empirical ApproachIt says that sensory experience is the
foundation of all perception and ultimately all
The Cognitive ApproachIt believes that not only does sensory
experience influence perception &
understanding, but understanding also
influences sensory & perceptual processing.
Gibbons Differentiation TheoryIt says that perception reflects children‘s
growing ability to identify the features that
distinguish complex patterns.
Newborns are sensitive to touch, many areas
of the newborn‘s body respond reflexively
Megan Gunnar and colleagues 1987 found
that newborns cried during circumcision
intensely, they however showed the resiliency
that they interact in a normal manner within
several minutes. The threshold for pain in
infancy varies just like adults. We can use
indirect evidence only to study pain stimuli
since they cannot express their pain. This can
be in form of high pitched cry, difficult to
Sensitivity to touch & have close body
contact immediately after birth is an
Sense of touch is well developed even in
Reflexes show sensitivity to touch cheek
produces a turning of the head; touch to lips
produces sucking movement.
Some parts of body are more sensitive to
There are developmental changes too.
Touch includes many senses.
This has been less researched than other
Females are more sensitive than males.
The infant‘s nervous system is definitely
capable of experiencing pain
Receptors for pain in the skin are just as
plentiful in infants as they are in adults.
Babies behavior in response to a painprovoking stimulus suggests that they
Earlier view was that they are insensitive to
pain, so doctors performed operations on
them without anaesthesia. From needle sticks
to open heart operations were done with
no anaesthesia or analgesia, other
than muscle relaxation for the surgery.
Recent advances in neurobiology and clinical
medicine have established that the foetus
and newborn may experience
acute, established, and chronic pain. (Anand
KJ, Buckman S, Maxwell LG, 2007)
Facial feature coding have also been used to
detect if the neonates feel pain or not.
It stimulates physical growth and
It has adaptive and bonding effect as it is
very important for the mothers to make
close physical body contact immediately
after birth with the baby to give warmth,
security and love.
It means to explore the world by licking
Piaget considers hands on manipulation
essential for cognitive development.
By weeks 9 &10: 3 inches, 1 ounce Teeth begin to form.
& by the end of 7 months taste buds are fully
Sensitivity to taste may be present before birth (Doty &
Experiments with saccharin introduction in amniotic
fluid in near term foetus increased the swallowing
Different facial expression to different taste was
reported even at 2 hours of birth (Rosentein & Oster,
Newborns are sensitive to change in breast milk taste
changing with the mother‘s diet.
At the age of 4 months, infants begin to prefer salty
tastes, which in newborns are found to be aversive
(Harris, Booth, 1990).
Previously disliked taste can change to preferred when
paired with relief of hunger
Important for survival as even animals
also avoid bitter fruits and prefer sweet
Sweet can have soothing and calming
Can detect hypertension risk in babies.
Animals use taste to avoid or approach
Well developed like in adults
May even be present before birth (Doty
and Shah, 2008)
Nasofacial effects seen even in 12 hour
old, vanilla & strawberry is smell preferred
but disliked rotten fish and rotten eggs
smell (Steiner 1979).
It is an innate capability to smell and
detect different kinds of smell.
They can even detect location of odour.
Has a role in social interaction
Can recognize their mothers
Has an important role in eating.
Olfactory sense is the earliest to be
acquired (prenatally ) and is sustainable
This develops in foetal stage in last two months of
pregnancy. (Kisilevsky and others 2009).
The story heard in the womb ―The cat in the Hat‖
was preferred even after birth as shown by
increase sucking and sucking in a different way
when any other story was read out by the
mother (Decasper and Spence 1986).
Soon after birth the auditory canal is filled with
fluid so the hearing as it is may be impaired. They
need 10-17 decibels higher sound to detect it.
Detection of sound also depends on the state of
arousal. Perception of sound varies according to
LOUDNESS, PITCH & LOCATION.
show preference for› Human voice over others(speech
› Mothers voice over others
› Music than noise
› Distinguish between emotional tones
› Can perceive different sounds like ‗Ba‘
› Sensitive to language structure –
prepared for acquiring language
› Brain structure for transmitting and
interpreting hearing continues till 2 years.
used to detect
auditory threshold have been
devised for infants OAE (Ottoacoustic –emission)
It is the least developed in newborns and most
required by adults.
Even the new born perceives the world in some
order. At birth the eye with retina, lens, muscles
and nerve are still developing, so they cannot
see small things far away.
Cells in retina mature in few months and lens
muscles are weak.
Eye muscles being weak-eyes lack convergence
of eyes till 2nd month which limits depth
Visual acuity not fully developed.
Optic nerve takes several years to develop.
New born can detect
Changes in brightness
Track an object that moves within their field
Distinguish movement in the visual field.
Newborn visual acuity is 20/400 to 20/800
20/200 or worse defines legal blindness in
By 6 months, infant visual acuity is 20/25
Visual acuity is defined as the smallest
pattern that can distinguished dependably
It is estimated to be 20/240 on the well known. (Aslin
and Lathrop 2008). It is estimated that that at 6 months
average vision 20/40 is achieved. (Aslin and Lathrop
Interest in human faces develops soon after birth.
Infants spend more time looking at mothers face as
early as 12 hours after birth than at strangers face.
By 3 months can distinguish between male and female
face, different ethnic groups etc.
With development they change they gather
information from visual world including .(Mareschal
,Quinn and Lea 2010).
From 3-9 months they gradually begin to focus
attention to faces than the silent background stimuli.
(Frank, Vul and Johnson 2009).
Can perceive certain patterns.
Robert Fantz 1963 noted that the infants prefer to look
at ―Bulls Eye ―rather than plain black circle.
the time these two checkerboards
are processed by eyes with poor
vision, only the checkerboard on the
left may have any pattern left to it.
Poor vision in early infancy helps to
explain a preference for moderately
complex rather than highly complex
stimuli. (BANKS & SALAPTEK, 1983).
visionColour vision is detected by cones in retina
which detects different wavelengths.
› Colour vision gradually improves. (Kellman and
› By 4-8 weeks infants can distinguish between
colours. (Kelly, Borchert and Teller 1997). 1
month old can detect gray from blue, red from
green but not yellow from green or red i.e.
medium and short wave lengths are detected
but not complete.
› By 4 months have adult like colour preferences
like saturated colours (Royal blue over pale
› Normal vision develops only with experience.
Newborns can perceive few colors, but
By 3-4 months newborns are able to see
the full range of colors (Kellman, 1998).
In fact, by 3-4 months infants have
color perception similar to adults
At 1 week, the infant can discriminate
the desaturated red from gray
At 2 months, the infant can discriminate
the desaturated blue from gray
Vision depends on state of arousal.
Gazing helps in bonding
They actively explore the environment with
their limited visual ability.
Ensuring the opportunity for infants to see
interesting things in environment helps in
proper development of vision area of the
Any vision impairment affects and it seriously
delays all the aspects of development i.e.
MOTOR, COGNITIVE, LANGUAGE, PERSONAL
All senses mutually influence one
another and any impairment in
one of the senses, development is
is the ability to judge the distance of an
objects from another and from ourselves.
Its significance at this stage is –
› Adaptive significance in helping them reach
out for objects; prevent them from bumping
into furniture; falling from stairs.
› Though is present at birth but improves with
age and depends on cues. The cues are
monocular as well as kinetic depth cues.
› Binocular cues develop only between 2-3
› Pictorial depth cues develop by 7 months.
You can recognize that the woman in
this picture has not shrunk…she is just
Eleanor Gibson and Richard 1960 constructed a
miniature cliff with a drop-off covered with glass
in a laboratory placed infants between the ages
of 6 and 14 months on the centre board and
looked at whether they would crawl over the
shallow and deep sides. Most infants did not
crawl out on glass, choosing to remain on the
shallow side suggesting thus that they had depth
perception. 6-12 months have sufficient visual
experience to perceive the depth but younger
ones had no experience so the depth
perception was developed in younger ones by
the age they learn to crawl.
› Are sensitive to patterns, images, forms, squares
etc, some being more sensitive than others and
preferring some patterns over others, distinguishing
triangles from squares etc.
Rhodes et al (2002 Perception 31315 - 321) showed
that infants preferred the less symmetrical face to
the symmetrical one.
Perception of human faces
At 3 months, infants develop visual expectation to
anticipate future events which implies that
cognitive or biological development is crucial for
emergence of visual skills.
7 months old perceive subjective boundaries not
If infants are sensitive to the pictorial cue of interposition, they should
reliably reach for the ―closest‖ area of a visual display (left side in this
example). Seven-month-olds show this reaching preference, whereas 5month-olds do not. FROM GRANRUD & YONAS, 1984.
This ability helps the infant to of perceive their
world as stable otherwise every time they saw
the same object at different distance or
orientation; they would perceive it as a
Kellman and Spelke (1983) reported, the key
to the young infant‘s perception of object is
the coordinated movement of an object's
surface in relation to the background.
2 types of object perception are size and shape
constancySize constancy- size of the object on the Retina is not
sufficient to tell its actual size. This ability develops in infants
by 3 months, though present in 1st week, but is full blown by
10-11 months. Kellman and Banks 1998.
Shape constancy- is the recognition that the object is of
same shape even after change of orientation. This is present
at birth too & is considered as an innate perceptual ability.
In as young as 3 months this ability is there but not for tilted
/irregular objects. (Cook and Birch, 1984).
Figure ground perception motion- helps in identification
than stationary cues like shape, texture or colour. According
to Gestalt psychologists, the ability to perceive an object as
a bounded figure, in front of an unbounded background is
important to all perception is dependent to on the
tendency to confer the simplest organization on visual
Auditory perception- infants can locate the source or the
originator of the sound.
› It involves integration of two or more sensory
modalities e.g. visual and auditory/hearing.
(Brenner and others 2010).
Babies are intermodal from birth. (Bahrick and
Hollich 2008). The babies turn their head as well as
eyes towards the sound of rattle when the sound is
maintained for several seconds.
They get sharpened with experience in 1st year of
The infants have shown to look longer at their
mothers when they also heard her voice (Spelk
and Owsley 1979).
The precision to put together the visual-auditory
stimuli is not as much as in adults but gets in 2nd
half of 1st year.
If we try to teach mismatched audiovisual stimuli,
infants do not learn it.
Infants as young as four months old can learn
to anticipate the location of an event and
demonstrate this by moving their eyes to a
location where the event will occur. Infants
also show preferences for novel objects in the
first few months of life.
Infants do not direct their attention very
effectively compared to adults.
Pre-schoolers get distracted by extraneous
Reminding them to pay attention
Giving them more relevant information
Perform a task more systematically as they
pay more attention to systematic and
There are times when children do not improve
by these skills. Children with ADHD are
characterised by over activity, inattention &
impulsivity and lack of attention. For such kids,
comprehensive treatment involving
medication, instruction, parental training can
be of help.
Infants are dependent, so their capacity to
entice the care takers role is critical.
Imitate facial expressions
Start ―Babble, coo, gurgle‖
Play alongside another child
Crying brings someone closer to provide care.
Being soothed reinforces caregivers.
Mutual gaze and smiling are both very powerful
hooks for adults continued attention
Turn taking can be seen in very young e.g.
sucking, pausing, jiggle….
Harlow 1966 removed baby rhesus monkeys from
their mothers and arranged for them to be
"raised" by two kinds of surrogate monkey mother
machines, both equipped to dispense milk. One
device was made out of bare mesh wire. The
other was fashioned from wire and covered with
soft terrycloth. He later modified the experiment
by separating the infants into two groups, giving
them no choice between the two types of
mothers. It was found that the young monkeys
clung to the terrycloth mother whether or not it
provided them with food, and that the young
monkeys chose the wire surrogate only when it
critical period refers to a limited time during
which the child is biologically prepared to
acquire certain adaptive behaviours but
needs the support of an appropriately
The sensitive period is considered to be a
time that is optimal for certain capacities to
emerge and in which the individual is
especially responsive to the environmental
Research on children from Eastern
European orphanages consistently shows
that the earlier infants are removed from
deprived rearing conditions, the greater
their catch-up in development. (2004;
O‘Connor et al., 2000)