The development of the ability to recognize the whole human body shape has long been investigated in infants, while less is known about their ability to recognize the shape of single body parts, and in particular their biomechanical constraints. This study aimed to explore whether 9- and 12-month-old infants have knowledge of a hand-grasping movement (i.e., pincer grip), being able to recognize violations of the hand's anatomical constraints during the observation of that movement. Using a preferential looking paradigm, we showed that 12-month-olds discriminate between biomechanically possible and impossible pincer grips, preferring the former over the latter (Experiment 1). This capacity begins to emerge by 9 months of age, modulated by infants' own sensorimotor experience with pincer grip (Experiment 2). Our findings indicate that the ability to visually discriminate between pincer grasps differing in their biomechanical properties develops between 9 and 12 months of age, and that experience with self-produced hand movements might help infants in building a representation of the hand that encompasses knowledge of the physical constraints of this body part.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology