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Fragility of haptic memory in human full-term newborns

Published in Infant Behavior and Development. 2018, vol. 52, p. 45-55
Abstract Background: Numerous studies have established that newborns can memorize tactile information about the specific features of an object with their hands and detect differences with another object. However, the robustness of haptic memory abilities has already been examined in preterm newborns and in full-term infants, but not yet in full-term newborns. This research is aimed to better understand the robustness of haptic memory abilities at birth by examining the effects of a change in the objects’ temperature and haptic interference. Methods: Sixty-eight full-term newborns (mean postnatal age: 2.5 days) were included. The two experiments were conducted in three phases: habituation (repeated presentation of the same object, a prism or cylinder in the newborn’s hand), discrimination (presentation of a novel object), and recognition (presentation of the familiar object). In Experiment 1, the change in the objects’ temperature was controlled during the three phases. Results and conclusion: Results reveal that newborns can memorize specific features that differentiate prism and cylinder shapes by touch, and discriminate between them, but surprisingly they did not show evidence of recognizing them after interference. As no significant effect of the temperature condition was observed in habituation, discrimination and recognition abilities, these findings suggest that discrimination abilities in newborns may be determined by the detection of shape differences. Overall, it seems that the ontogenesis of haptic recognition memory is not linear. The developmental schedule is likely crucial for haptic development between 34 and 40 GW.
Keywords NewbornsSensory developmentTouchHaptic memory
PMID: 29860156
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Research groups Unité de psychologie clinique et neuropsychologie de l'enfant (UPCNE)
Laboratoire du développement sensori-moteur, affectif et social (SMAS)
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LEJEUNE, Fleur et al. Fragility of haptic memory in human full-term newborns. In: Infant Behavior and Development, 2018, vol. 52, p. 45-55. doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2018.05.004 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:106683

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Deposited on : 2018-07-25

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