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Sitting Up Is Crucial for Learning in Babies

Update Date: Dec 06, 2012 06:13 AM EST

A new study suggests that sitting up, either by themselves or with someone's help, is crucial for how babies learn as they grow up.

The study by Rebecca J. Woods, assistant professor in the human development and family science department at North Dakota State University, has revealed that sitting up unsupported has a very significant positive effect on their learning abilities about objects around them.

 Woods explains that in babies, an important part of human cognitive development is the ability to understand whether an object they can see in front of them is the same or different from an object seen earlier, Medical Xpress reports.

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With the help of two experiments, Woods revealed that infants, who are 5.5 and 6.5 months old do not differentiate between objects using patterns, but by the time they are 6.5 months old, they can differentiate between objects given an opportunity to look at, touch and mouth the objects. Sitting up enables children to reach for things, grasp and manipulate them, in turn helping them understand things better.

When children do not have to focus on balancing, they can give their undivided attention to exploring an object.

In a third experiment conducted by Woods, 5.5 month old babies were given full postural support while they explored objects, and it was found that they were able to differentiate objects using patterns.

"Helping a baby sit up in a secure, well-supported manner during learning sessions may help them in a wide variety of learning situations, not just during object-feature learning," Woods said.

"This knowledge can be advantageous particularly to infants who have cognitive delays who truly need an optimal learning environment."

The study suggests that children, who start sitting up late, miss out on learning experiences which may also affect other areas of development.

The paper, "Posture Support Improves Object Individuation in Infants," has been published in Developmental Psychology 

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