Newborn infants and babies aged up to three months should be stimulated to manipulate objects and observe adults performing everyday tasks. This incentive helps their social, motor and cognitive development, researchers note in an article published in the May 2021 issue of the journal Infant Behavior Development.
According to the authors, from the earliest age babies watch adults carrying out activities such as handling utensils and putting them away in drawers or closets. They should themselves have frequent contact with objects to develop the ability to hold things and reach out for them. Through social interaction, even newborns can learn to use their own bodies functionally and to perceive the links between their movements and their surroundings.
"We present evidence that neonatal imitation and manipulation activities are connected, and therefore propose stimulation practices based on seminal experimental designs where infants should be positioned in favorable postures to observe others acting in the world. This will have an impact on the way that early infants understand the social world and the chain of actions possible in this environment," they argue in the article.
The study was supported by FAPESP in partnership with the Maria Cecília Souto Vidigal Foundation (FMCSV).
For Priscilla Ferronato, a professor at the Health Sciences Institute of Paulista University (UNIP) in São Paulo, Brazil, and first author of the article, the study innovated by evidencing the link between social imitation and the motor…