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From object perception to tool use in early infancy

Several studies have shown that fetuses are able to control their movements toward themselves or their environment to a certain point. However, at birth, the infants must learn how to control their movements in a new environment. It takes several months for the infant to control its hands and take into account the physical characteristics of the objects to grasp and manipulate them. Our « Tool use » group studied the mechanisms leading the infant from its first motor babbling to the capacity to use an independent tool at the beginning of the second year. In particular, we emphasized the role of observation and the conditions in which observational learning takes place. One interesting result is that laughing considerably helps a 18-month-old understand a demonstration and learn a new task by observation.

Project team lead
Jacqueline Fagard