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On a multistable dynamic model of behavioral and perceptual infant development.

Frank, T. D. and Van der Kamp, John and Savelsbergh, Geert (2010) On a multistable dynamic model of behavioral and perceptual infant development. Developmental psychobiology, 52 (4). pp. 352-71. ISSN 0012-1630

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Abstract

In this theoretical work, we treat behavioral and perceptual issues on an equal footing and examine the emergence of mutually exclusive behavioral patterns and perceptual variables during infant development from the perspective of multistable competitive dynamic systems. Accordingly, behavioral modes and modes of perception compete with each other for activation. One and only one mode survives the mode-mode competition, which accounts for the incompatibility of modes being considered. However, the winning behavioral or perceptual state is not predefined. Rather, we argue that during particular stages of maturation multiple modes coexist for the same set of developmental, body-scaled, and environmental parameters or constraints. The winning behavioral or perceptual state depends on these parameters as well as on initial conditions as operationalized in terms of previously performed behaviors or utilized perceptual stimuli. We give explicit examples of our approach and address the emergence of two-handed grasping and catching movements and the emergence of monocular and binocular vision during infant development. In particular, we propose that the emergence of midline crossing movements in 3- to 6-month-old infants involves two independent but interaction control parameters: a body-scaled and a developmental one. Likewise, we argue that the onset of binocularity in infants involves two independent but interaction control parameters: a developmental and an environmental one.

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