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Learning About Objects in Infancy


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Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Learning About How Object Attributes predict the Locations of Object Boundaries 3. Representing Objects and Forming Object Categories 4. Early Visual-Motor Connections 5. Learning to Reach for Objects 6. Developing Effective Reaching for Objects 7. Learning to Use Tools 8. Conclusions and Emergent Themes

About the Author

Amy Work Needham is Professor in the Department of Psychology and Human Development in Peabody College at Vanderbilt University. For more than 20 years, she has studied the contributions of perception and action to early learning.


"This book is a wonderful collection of both detailed experimental findings and carefully constructed inferences about the mechanisms that enable infants to acquire knowledge about objects. The focus is on visual cues that define what we mean by "an object" and how infants utilize their emerging motor skills to explore and learn about those cues. Needham's seminal studies that gave infants accelerated access to object retrieval by using "sticky mittens" is a highlight of her extensive program of research. The interplay between this proximal experience of reaching-to-grasp and more distal observations of objects manipulated by others culminates in the use of objects as tools. This is a must-read for anyone interested in the fascinating bidirectional nature of perception and action during human development." - Richard Aslin, William R. Kenan Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, University of Rochester"From early sensory processing to emerging motor control, Needham provides us with a comprehensive and contemporary discussion of object processing in infancy, with an emphasis on how early sensorimotor activity paves the way for complex knowledge acquisition, self-efficacy, and intentionality. This engaging work is sure to appear as part of undergraduate and graduate curricula in many psychology departments. An excellent and informative read!" - Karin H. James, Associate Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University"I have been waiting for a book like this. The research literatures on early object recognition, object categorization, reaching, object manipulation, and tool use have remained largely separate, but in this beautifully written book, Needham seamlessly integrates findings across these different areas to show how infants' cognitive and motor abilities with objects are the stepping stones of human technology." - Jeffrey J. Lockman, Professor of Psychology, Tulane University "This fascinating book provides rarely document detail about infants' encoutners with objects. Often taken for granted as natural development and of little consequence, this book takes us on a journey of discovery about the infant as a thinker and a theoriser. Each chapter describes in fine detail experimental studies that expose the thinking processes that assist infants to understand the world around them. Throughout each chapter we begin to see how infants make sense of what to adults is the unquestioned phenomenon of the everday... Importantly this book offers a very different perspective on the life and experience of infants than that which is often presented in the early childhood education and care literature. Moving beyond a focus on infants' social and emotional states, this book is a champion for the thinking and theorising infant... I promise--once reading this book one will never again assume the act of feeding oneself with a spoon an easy feat." -Sandra Cheeseman, Macquarie University, Australia, The First Years

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