Going the Distance: Locomotor Choices in Crawling and Walking Infants
thesisposted on 22.05.2021, 12:37 by Jill Ashley Dosso
Little is known about infants' ability to make choices that vary along multiple dimensions. This research sought to describe strategies used by infants to direct their own locomotion in a multi-target environment. Infants repeatedly chose between pairs of objects that differed in distance and value. The choices made by crawling and walking infants were compared under two conditions: an experience-controlled, age-varied comparison and an experience-varied, age-controlled comparison. When experience was held constant, walking infants' choices did not vary with object distance while crawling infants preferentially selected close-by objects. When age was held constant, all infants' choices were distance-sensitive. The findings suggest that infants do selectively allocate their locomotion according to properties of the environment, but the relevance of the property of distance changes over development. The way that infants approach their environment has a shaping role in the choices they make and, consequently, the information and feedback available to them.