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J Exp Child Psychol. 2017 Oct;162:292-300. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2017.04.021. Epub 2017 Jun 7.

Naps improve new walkers' locomotor problem solving.

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Department of Psychology, College of Staten Island and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, Staten Island, NY 10314, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Counseling and Human Development, University of Haifa, Haifa 3498838, Israel.


In this first study of the impact of sleep on infants' problem solving of a locomotor task, 28 newly walking infants who were within a week of having given up crawling trained to navigate a shoulder-height tunnel to reach a caregiver waiting at the end. During the transitional window between crawling and walking, infants are reluctant to return to crawling, making this task uniquely challenging. Infants were randomly assigned to either nap or stay awake during a delay between training and a later test session. For the Nap group, efficiency of problem solving improved from training to test, but there was no change for the No Nap group. These findings suggest that for newly walking infants, sleep facilitates learning to solve a novel motor problem.


Infancy; Memory consolidation; Motor learning; Problem solving; Sleep; Walking

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