Sunday, February 4, 2007

Gum ya later...

I'm reading What's Going on in There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life by Lise Eliot, Ph.D. (excerpt and more info on Amazon). I wish I had read it before the Bean was born - I wouldn't necessarily have done anything differently - it's just interesting to know how and why certain things happen. Ok - sorry - that's ridiculously vague. Here's one example.

Everyone knows that babies put EVERYTHING into their mouths - it's how they explore the world. But why? What I did not know was that the ability to perceive through touch develops from head to toe. A baby can perceive and learn more by touching something with his mouth than with his hands, and "even at five years of age, children's touch sensitivity remains greater in the face than in their hands" (page 132).

Eliot goes on to describe an experiment in which "one-month-olds were able to recognize an object visually that they had previously explored only with their mouths. In this study, babies were allowed to suck on (but not to see) one of two different pacifiers - either a smooth or nubby sphere. Then they were shown larger versions of both objects. The result was clear: they preferred to look at the type of pacifier they had just sucked on rather than the one they had never felt. So not only can young babies detect different shapes with their mouths, they actually form an abstract perception of an object - a mental image that makes the leap between their tactile and visual senses." They repeated the experiment letting the babies hold the pacifiers in their hands only - and they were not able to recognize them visually afterwards (page 132).

Fascinating! I can't put this book down. I highly recommend it for any parent, grandparent, or psycho read-everything-ever-published-on-pregnancy-and-child-development type like myself.

1 comment:

NuttyMeatfruit said...

Wow, that is very cool!