Kick Start: Learning to Move the World

  • We are using an infant mobile to shape the amount and the coordination of infant kicking in the earliest months of life. The infants learn that their leg actions can activate the movement and music in the mobile. The "contingency" that is learned is fundamental in development as infants learn that their actions have consequences on the world around them.
    The purpose of this study is to determine the ability of 3-month old full-term and preterm infants to: (1) learn the contingency between leg action and mobile activation, and (2) demonstrate a greater amount kicking and an increase of selective leg movement when leg actions are reinforced with mobile activation. Each infant participates in 2 sessions of mobile reinforcement on consecutive days. Day 1 consists of a 2-min non-reinforcement condition (spontaneous kicking) followed by a 6-min reinforcement condition (the infant mobile rotated and played music). Day 2 consists of a 2-minute non-reinforcement condition, 6-minute reinforcement condition, and 2-minute non-reinforcement condition. 

    • Barbara Sargent, PhD, PT, PCS, Assistant Professor of Clinical Physical Therapy, USC
    • Hendrik Reimann, Ruhr University, Germany
    • Masayoshi Kubo, ScD, PT, Department of Physical Therapy, Niigata University of Health and Welfare, Niigata, Japan