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Infant's motors skills across different cultures!

In this study, Karasik et al. (2015) observed 5-month-old infants from six different cultures on sitting proficiency, based on natural settings. In previous studies, infants from other cultures were seen as “delayed” or “precocious” in relation to developmental norms established mainly with Western infants. Initial and historic studies on infant motor development included predominantly middle-class infants from European descent and studied motor skills in a laboratory setting. Because motor skills derive from infants’ exploration of surroundings, researchers wanted to observe infants’ development of motor skills, especially sitting, in the comfort of their homes. In this study, the researchers focused on individual differences in infant motor skills through observing duration of independent sitting, proficiency of independent sitting, opportunities for sitting, sitting bouts, location of sitting, and mothers’ proximity to infants. They found that proficiency varied considerably within and between cultural groups with 64% of the sample sat only with support from mother or furniture, and 36% sat independently. Infants from developing countries were found to have the longest duration of independent sitting, one lasting for 20+ minutes, and some away from mother’s reach. These findings are important for new insights as we are able to observe range of ability, opportunities for sitting practice, and contextual factors that influence infant motor skills.

Written by Vivian Truong.


Karasik LB, Tamis-LeMonda CS, Adolph KE, Bornstein MH. Places and postures: A cross-cultural comparison of sitting in 5-month-olds. J Cross Cult Psychol. 2015 Sep;46(8):1023-1038. doi: 10.1177/0022022115593803. Epub 2015 Jul 13. PMID: 26924852; PMCID: PMC4767024.


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