Embodied and Embedded Learning: Child, Caregiver, and Context

Catherine S. Tamis-LeMonda, Lillian R. Masek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The pace of infant learning is inspiring. Babies learn new skills while interacting with the people, objects, and spaces in their everyday environments. Grounded in a developmental-systems approach, we highlight the embodied and embedded nature of infant learning. Learning is embodied in that the exuberant infant serendipitously creates an ideal curriculum for learning through immense amounts of varied, time-distributed practice across behavioral domains. Learning is embedded in that infants’ behaviors elicit timely responses from caregivers that are situated in richly informative and structured environments. Feedback loops generated by the active infant, the salience of caregiver responses, and the regularity of environmental contexts propel learning. The study of natural behaviors in natural environments spotlights the roles of infant, caregiver, and context in everyday learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-378
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Directions in Psychological Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2023


  • caregiver-child interaction
  • developmental cascades
  • infant learning
  • language development
  • motor development
  • play

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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