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1 page/≈550 words
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APA
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Biological & Biomedical Sciences
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English (U.S.)
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Infant Development (Essay Sample)

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The paper discusses the development and perception of auditory, visual, and haptic stimuli among infants.

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Infant Skills: Hearing, Sight, and Touch
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Introduction
Infants develop the ability to hear before they are born. In the womb, the infant listens to specific sounds such as the mother’s heartbeat, sounds emanating from the gurgles of the digestive system, as well as sounds generated by the mother and other family members. The hearing system of infants is well developed at the point of birth thus explaining their ability to respond to auditory stimuli. In regards to visual acuity, children prefer patterned to non-patterned visual stimuli. Infants are also sensitive to painful, cold, and warm stimuli. They learn from their response to the stimuli. The paper discusses the development and perception of auditory, visual, and haptic stimuli among infants.
Auditory Development and Perception Among Infants
At the point of birth, infants have well-developed hearing system thus implying their readiness to process and respond to auditory stimuli (Werner et al. 2011). However, it is evident that the hearing system at the point of birth is not fully mature to process specific hearing aspects such as temporal resolution and frequency. Infants are only able to process and respond to such auditory elements six months after birth. The development of other hearing aspects such as intensity resolution, absolute sensitivity, and the processing of complex auditory stimuli continues well into childhood as observed by Werner et al. (2011). The maturation of selective attention and other high-level auditory stimuli marks the apex of auditory development among infants. However, the full development of primary auditory processes should be witnessed among infants six months after their delivery. During this period, the auditory aspects developed include intensity, temporal processing, and frequency.
At the end of the first six months after delivery, the hearing system of children is still immature in hearing aspects such as differentiating low-frequency tones, detecting changes in the intensity of sound, and detecting specific sounds in noise. According to Werner et al. (2011), the immaturity of the hearing system is responsible for the inefficiencies witnessed in the system that manifests through immature auditory behaviours. Newborn babies exhibit remarkable capabilities such as differentiating speech sounds. Before birth, children of a gestational age of six to seven months have all the mechanisms that are necessary for hearing (Abdollahi et al., 2017). A six-month-old infant can respond to sound stimuli by blinking the eyes. However, the tissue and liquid layer that surrounds the child reduces the intensity of sound that reaches the foetus in the mother’s womb. However, physiologic responses of infants such as tiredness and hunger influence their reaction towards different auditory stimuli.
The development and perception of visual stimuli
Just like other systems such as the cortical and sensory systems, the development of the visual system starts in the womb. According to Johnson (2011), the process of developing the retina starts approximately 40 days after conception. The cells are fully developed about six months into the pregnancy even though the development of the eyesight to maturity continues until the child is at least one year old. At the point of birth, the infant has a fully functional visual system. The eyes of the child take in light and transfer it to the higher brain areas. When the child is alert and wake, she or he can respond to different visual stimuli using eye and head movements. However, the vision of a neonate is weak compared to that of an adult. The various aspects of vision where a neonate's vision is reduced include visual acuity or the ability of the infant to see fine details of objects and contrast sensitivity that refers to the ability of the infant to identify differences in light intensity (Johnson, 2011).
The other aspects where the vision of a child is poor include colour sensitivity and the sensitivity of the infant towards different motions (Johnson, 2011). The small field of view of neonates implies that they are unable to focus distant visual information. Infants also lack the depth perception also known as stereopsis thus explaining why their vision is blurry, sluggish, and hazy as compared to that of adults. The continued maturation of the cortical and eye structures as the child matures improves the visual perception of the infant. Despite the fact that infants have a relatively weak vision at the point of birth and few months after birth, they can scan the visual environment actively with respect to three rules. The first rule states that infants initiate a controlled search while scanning a visual environment that lacks patterned stimulations. The second rule states that infants study the environment continuously until they encounter an edge. Finally, they stay in the edge's vicinity after meeting it as observed by Johnson (2011).
Sensitivity of Neonates To Touch
Infants exhibit high sensitivity towards subtle changes in touch, especially by their mothers (Stack & LePage, 1996). The differences in the attentional and affective responses towards touch stimuli among infants depend on the different periods when they are subjected to the stimulus. At the point of birth, neonates can differentiate between hot and cold stimulate. Their ability to perceive and respond to pai

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