Public Release: 

Infant learning: Is more really better?

Wiley

Many parents and caregivers believe that multi-sensory stimulation during infancy promotes developmental growth and learning, but researchers who conducted eye movement experiments on preverbal infants show that this is not always true.

The team discovered that 8 to 10 month old infants could learn basic abstract rules, such as sequences, but only when the audio and visual stimuli were "congruently" or "consistently" paired. If a smiling face was paired with a crying sound, the infants were confused, and they did not learn the rule.

The findings indicate that having both visual and audio inputs--or more than one sensory stimulation--does not guarantee successful learning. They have to match each others' nature.

"How to match stimulation from visual, audio, tactile, and other sensory systems into a unified manner is the key to help our little ones fully benefit from it," said Dr. Chia-huei Tseng, senior author of the Developmental Science study.

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