Mouthing and Grasping of Objects by Young Infants

Valerie A. Whyte, P. Vernon Mcdonald, Renee L Baillargeon, K. M. Newell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mouthing and grasping objects are two common behaviors observed in young infants, although little is known about the relations between these activities. Data from two previously published experiments on 4- to 8-month-old infants (N = 133) are further analyzed to investigate if: (a) variation in object size and shape influences whether objects are mouthed after being picked up, and (b) infants modify their grip configurations in order to mouth objects as opposed to performing other prehensile actions. The results showed that larger objects increased the propensity of young infants to mouth objects; object size also contributed to differentiating the grip configuration according to the intent of the action. The findings suggest that infants as young as 4 months perceive that object properties afford different actions and differentiate grip configurations to realize specific task goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-218
Number of pages14
JournalEcological Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • General Computer Science
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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