Systems in Development: Motor Skill Acquisition Facilitates Three-Dimensional Object Completion

Kasey C. Soska, Karen E. Adolph, Scott P. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


How do infants learn to perceive the backs of objects that they see only from a limited viewpoint? Infants' 3-dimensional object completion abilities emerge in conjunction with developing motor skills-independent sitting and visual-manual exploration. Infants at 4.5 to 7.5 months of age (n = 28) were habituated to a limited-view object and tested with volumetrically complete and incomplete (hollow) versions of the same object. Parents reported infants' sitting experience, and infants' visual-manual exploration of objects was observed in a structured play session. Infants' self-sitting experience and visual-manual exploratory skills predicted looking at the novel, incomplete object on the habituation task. Further analyses revealed that self-sitting facilitated infants' visual inspection of objects while they manipulated them. The results are framed within a developmental systems approach, wherein infants' sitting skill, multimodal object exploration, and object knowledge are linked in developmental time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-138
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • exploration
  • object manipulation
  • perceptual development
  • sitting
  • three-dimensional object perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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