Relationship between visual-spatial processing of objects and motor development in infants, by Gudrun Schwarzer
It is essential that infants learn to understand the visual-spatial characteristics of objects in their environment. This enables them to recognize objects despite changes in the viewing angles, and to visually anticipate and grasp them at the right moment when they move. That in turn allows infants to interact safely with objects and perform successful actions with them in everyday life. In this talk, I will provide empirical evidence that infants’ development of visual-spatial abilities is deeply interwoven with their motor development.
First, I will demonstrate that infants’ mental rotation ability of objects and their predictive visual-spatial ability are clearly linked to their locomotion and manual object exploration skills. Then, I will present experiments in which we investigated visual and visual-manual mediators through which locomotion and manual object exploration most likely bring about improvements in infants’ visual-spatial abilities. Finally, I will introduce studies that examined the implications of this close coupling of visual-spatial development with motor development for young children with motor or visual impairment.
Gudrun Schwartzer is Professor, Chair of the Department of Developmental Psychology University of Giessen, Germany