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Sensorimotor Decoupling Contributes to Triadic Attention: A Longitudinal Investigation of Mother–Infant–Object Interactions


Previous developmental accounts of joint object activity identify a qualitative "shift" around 9-12 months. In a longitudinal study of 26 dyads, videos of joint object interactions at 4, 6, 9, and 12 months were coded for all targets of gaze and manual activity (at 10 Hz). At 12 months, infants distribute their sensorimotor modalities between objects handled by the parent and others controlled by the infant. Analyses reveal novel trajectories in distributed joint object activity across the 1st year. At 4 months, infants predominantly look at and manipulate a single object, typically held by their mothers. Between 6 and 9 months, infants increasingly decouple their visual and haptic modalities and distribute their attention between objects held by their mothers and by themselves. These previously unreported developments in the distribution of multimodal object activity might "bridge the gap" to coordinated joint activity between 6 and 12 months.

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