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J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2000 Dec;21(6):437-47.

The role of sensory stimulation in perinatal development: insights from comparative research for care of the high-risk infant.

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Department of Psychology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg 24061, USA.


Studies of avian and mammalian species have highlighted the importance of normal patterns of perinatal sensory experience to early perceptual and behavioral capabilities, including recognition and preference for maternal olfactory, auditory, and visual information, the capability for prenatal and postnatal auditory learning, and sensitivity to temporal and spatial features of sensory stimulation. This animal-based research suggests that the effects that alterations of perinatal sensory stimulation may have on early perceptual and behavioral development likely depend on a number of related factors, including (a) the timing of the stimulation relative to the developmental stage of the organism, (b) the amount of stimulation provided or denied the young organism, and (c) the type of sensory stimulation presented. This article reviews research drawn from comparative developmental psychology and psychobiology on perinatal perceptual development and explores how it can inform research and practice concerned with the developmentally appropriate care of the high-risk infant.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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