357 Milestones in Infant Development

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Learning Ability
Not a Buzzing Confusion
Why is it incorrect to say that to the
infant, the world is merely a jumble
of disconnected stimuli?
Concept 9.10
Motor development in infancy
progresses rapidly through a series of
steps from near immobility to coordinated running by around eighteen
months of age.
Infants are capable of learning simple responses and retaining memories of these learned behaviors for days or even weeks (Schneider
& Bjorklund, 1997). For example, infants as young as two to six months can learn
and remember a kicking response that activates a crib mobile (Rovee-Collier &
Fagen, 1981) (see Figure 9.7). They can remember this response for several days
at two months of age to as long as several weeks at six months (Hartshorn &
Rovee-Collier, 1997). Infants as young as six months can also retain memories
for faces (Pascalis et al., 1998). Learning even occurs prenatally, as shown by newborns’ preference for their mother’s voice and for sounds reflecting their native
language (Moon, Cooper, & Fifer, 1993).
Motor Development
The progression of motor skills during infancy requires attaining an impressive
degree of motor coordination and control. Skills that adults take for granted, such
as walking, running, or even standing up, require the development of exquisite
muscular coordination and control. The rapidity with which an infant develops
these skills is nothing short of incredible. The development of motor skills, as
outlined in Concept Chart 9.3, occurs in the same sequence among nearly all infants at about the same ages and in all cultures.
Milestones in Infant Development
Approximate Ages
Sensory Skills and Learning Abilities
Motor Skills
Birth to 1 month
• Has 20/600 vision
• Can visually track a moving object
• Sensitive to sounds within range of human voice
• Shows preference for mother's voice and native language
sounds (develops prenatally)
• Can detect mother's odor
• Can discern certain pleasant or unpleasant basic odors
• Shows taste preference for sweetness
• Responds to a soothing voice
• Can discern differences in how they are held
• Shows preferences for face-like stimuli
and responds to certain facial features
• Basic reflexes
• Thumb sucking
• Mimicking facial acts
2–3 months
• Can discriminate direction of a moving object
• Has developed basic color vision
• Can discern differences in the
tempo (beat) of a pattern of sounds
• Can discriminate among faces of different people
• Can learn simple responses and remember them for several
days (at 2 months) to several weeks (at 6 months)
• Lifts chin
• Brings objects to mouth
4–6 months
• Depth perception develops
• Can discern differences among certain facial expressions
• Can retain memory for certain faces
7–9 months
Further development of depth perception and visual acuity
• Grasps stationary objects
• Catches moving objects
• Brings objects into field of
• Able to roll over
• Sits without support
• Stands holding on
10–12 months
Has developed near 20/20 vision
• Walks holding on
• Stands without support