Washington: For babies, sitting up - either by themselves or with assistance - plays a significant role in how they learn, according to a new study.
Researchers from North Dakota State University and Texas A&M found that something as simple as the body position of babies while they learn plays a critical role in their cognitive development.
The study`s results show that babies` ability to sit up unsupported has a profound effect on their ability to learn about objects.
The research also showed that when babies who cannot sit up alone are given posture support from infant seats that help them sit up, they learn as well as babies who can already sit alone.
"An important part of human cognitive development is the ability to understand whether an object in view is the same or different from an object seen earlier," said co-author Rebecca J Woods.
Through two experiments, she confirmed that 5-and-a-half- and 6-and-a-half-month-olds don`t use patterns to differentiate objects on their own.
However, 6-and-a-half-month-olds can be primed to use patterns, if they have the opportunity to look at, touch and mouth the objects before being tested.
"An advantage the 6-and-a-half-month-olds may have is the ability to sit unsupported, which makes it easier for babies to reach for, grasp and manipulate objects. If babies don`t have to focus on balancing, their attention can be on exploring the object," said Woods.
In a third experiment, 5-and-a-half-month-olds were given full postural support while they explored objects. When they had posture support, they were able to use patterns to differentiate objects.
The research study suggested that delayed sitting may cause babies to miss learning experiences that affect other areas of development.
"Helping a baby sit up in a secure, well-supported manner during learning sessions may help them in a wide variety of learning situations, not just during object-feature learning," Woods said in a statement.
"This knowledge can be advantageous, particularly to infants who have cognitive delays who truly need an optimal learning environment," she said.
The study was published in the journal Developmental Psychology.