Visual Guidance in Infants' Reaching toward Suddenly Displaced Targets

Daniel H. Ashmead, Michael E. McCarty, Linda S. Lucas, Mariana C. Belvedere

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


This experiment evaluated the role of visual input about the location of a target object and the location of the hand in reaching by infants and adults. 5‐ and 9‐month‐old infants were presented with illuminated toys to reach for in a dark room. On no‐switch trials, the toy remained illuminated throughout the infant's reach, whereas on switch trials the first‐lit toy was replaced during the reach by a second‐lit toy at a different position. On approximately half of the trials of each type a luminescent marker was attached to the reaching hand. Adult subjects (tested without the hand marker) fully compensated to the second‐lit toy on switch trials, during a second reaching segment. On switch trials, 9‐month‐olds partially adjusted to the second‐lit toy when wearing the hand marker and did not adjust without it. On no‐switch trials, 9‐month‐olds reached just as accurately with or without the hand marker. 5‐month‐olds were generally inaccurate in their reaching and were unaffected by the presence or absence of the hand marker. The findings suggest that during the development of reaching there is an increase in visual guidance during the approach phase of reaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1111-1127
Number of pages17
JournalChild development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1993


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