the end of the third month the grasping reflex diminishes and the infant shows

The end of the third month the grasping reflex

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the end of the third month, the grasping reflex diminishes, and the infant shows a more voluntary grasp. As its motor development becomes smoother, the infant will grasp objects, carefully manipulate them, and explore their qualities. Individual differences in reflexive behavior appear soon aft er birth. For example, the suck- ing capabilities of newborns vary considerably. Some newborns are effi cient at sucking force- fully and obtaining milk; others are not as adept and get tired before they are full. Most infants How might dynamic systems theory explain the development of learning to walk? developmental connection Nature and Nurture The epigenetic view states that develop- ment is an ongoing, bidirectional interchange between heredity and the environment. Chapter 2, pp. 62–63 rooting reflex A newborn’s built-in reaction that occurs when the infant’s cheek is stroked or the side of the mouth is touched. In response, the infant turns its head toward the side that was touched, in an apparent eff ort to find something to suck. sucking reflex A newborn’s reaction of sucking an object placed in its mouth. The sucking reflex enables the infant to get nourishment before it has begun to associate a nipple with food. Moro reflex A startle response that occurs in reaction to a sudden, intense noise or movement. When startled, the newborn arches its back, throws its head back, and flings out its arms and legs. Then the newborn rapidly closes its arms and legs to the center of the body. grasping reflex A reflex that occurs when something touches an infant’s palms. The infant responds by grasping tightly. gross motor skills Motor skills that involve large- muscle activities, such as walking.
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SECTION 2 Biological Processes, Physical Development, and Health 161 take several weeks to establish a sucking style that is coordinated with the way the mother is holding the infant, the way milk is coming out of the bottle or breast, and the infant’s tem- perament (Blass, 2008). The old view of reflexes portrayed them as exclusively genetic, built-in mechanisms that govern the infant’s movements. The new perspective on infant reflexes is that they are not automatic or completely beyond the infant’s control. For example, infants can deliberately control such movements as alternating their legs to make a mobile jiggle or change their suck- ing rate to listen to a recording (Adolph & Berger, 2013). GROSS MOTOR SKILLS Ask any parents about their baby, and sooner or later you are likely to hear about one or more advances in motor skills, such as “Cassandra just learned to crawl,” “Jesse is finally sitting alone,” or “Angela took her first step last week.” Parents proudly announce such milestones as their children transform themselves from babies unable to lift their heads to toddlers who grab things off the grocery store shelf, chase a cat, and participate actively in the family’s social life (Thelen, 2000). These milestones are examples of gross motor skills, skills that involve large- muscle activities such as moving one’s arms and walking.
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