Spatial localization of touch in the first year of life: early influence of a visual spatial code and the development of remapping across changes in limb position.
Bremner AJ., Mareschal D., Lloyd-Fox S., Spence C.
Two experiments investigated infants' ability to localize tactile sensations in peripersonal space. Infants aged 10 months (Experiment 1) and 6.5 months (Experiment 2) were presented with vibrotactile stimuli unpredictably to either hand while they adopted either a crossed- or uncrossed-hands posture. At 6.5 months, infants' responses were predominantly manual, whereas at 10 months, visual orienting behavior was more evident. Analyses of the direction of the responses indicated that (a) both age groups were able to locate tactile stimuli, (b) the ability to remap visual and manual responses to tactile stimuli across postural changes develops between 6.5 and 10 months of age, and (c) the 6.5-month-olds were biased to respond manually in the direction appropriate to the more familiar uncrossed-hands posture across both postures. The authors argue that there is an early visual influence on tactile spatial perception and suggest that the ability to remap visual and manual directional responses across changes in posture develops between 6.5 and 10 months, most likely because of the experience of crossing the midline gained during this period.