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J Exp Child Psychol. 2004 Nov;89(3):214-41.

The role of crawling and walking experience in infant spatial memory.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA 99362, USA.


This research explored infants' use of place learning and cue learning in a locomotor task across the transition from crawling to walking. Novice and expert crawling and walking infants were observed in a novel locomotor task-finding a hidden goal location in a large space. In Experiment 1, infants were tested with distal landmarks. Infants with fewer than 6 weeks of experience, either crawling or walking, could not find the goal location. All infants with more locomotor experience were more successful. Learning did not transfer across the transition to walking. In Experiment 2, novice and expert crawlers and walkers were tested with a direct landmark. Again, novice crawlers and walkers with fewer than 6 weeks of experience could not find the goal, whereas those with more experience could. Taken together, these findings suggest that infants' spatial learning is inextricably linked to mode of locomotion.

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