The study's results show that babies' ability to sit up unsupported has a profound effect on their ability to learn about objects. The research also shows that when babies who cannot sit up alone are given posture support from infant seats that help them sit up, they learn as well as babies who can already sit alone.
"An important part of human cognitive development is the ability to understand whether an object in view is the same or different from an object seen earlier," said Dr. Woods. Through two experiments, she confirmed that 5-and-a-half- and 6-and-a-half-month-olds don't use patterns to differentiate objects on their own. However, 6-and-a-half-month-olds can be primed to use patterns, if they have the opportunity to look at, touch and mouth the objects before being tested.
"An advantage the 6-and-a-half-month-olds may have is the ability to sit unsupported, which makes it easier for babies to reach for, grasp and manipulate objects. If babies don't have to focus on balancing, their attention can be on exploring the object," said Woods.