Prehension Enrichment Experience Facilitates Motor and Perceptual-Cognitive Development in Early Infancy
Infants received a prehension enrichment experience (active training), which allowed pre-reaching infants to gain experience with prehension before they would normally begin such behaviors. During the prehension enrichment experience, infants received 10-14 ten-minute play sessions wearing “sticky mittens”: mittens with palms covered in the loop side of Velcro, allowing them to pick up small toys covered in Velcro hook. Two months after the enrichment session, infants who received the prehension enrichment experience were compared with age-matched peers who wore “non-sticky mittens” while observing their parents and the experimenter manipulating objects (passive training). The results of this study indicate that two months after the prehension enrichment experience, infants who received active training engaged in more object exploration and exhibited accelerated reasoning about the support relations between objects when compared to infants who received passive training. These results suggest that early prehension enrichment experience facilitates the processes of object exploration and engagement while also enhancing infants’ cognitive and perceptual development.