|Title||Prematurity may negatively impact means-end problem solving across the first two years of life|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2018|
|Authors||Cunha, ABaraldi, Babik, I, Ross, SM, Logan, SW, Galloway, JC, Clary, E, Lobo, MA|
|Journal||Research in Developmental Disabilities|
Preterm infants are at risk for delays in motor, perceptual, and cognitive development. While research has shown preterm infants may exhibit learning delays in the first months of life, these delays are commonly under-diagnosed. The purpose of this study was to longitudinally evaluate behavioral performance and learning in two means-end problem-solving tasks for 30 infants born preterm (PT) and 23 born full-term (FT). Infants were assessed at 6, 9, 12, 18, and 24 months-old in tasks that required towel pulling or turntable rotation to obtain a distant object. PT infants performed more non–goal-directed and less goal-directed behavior than FT infants throughout the study, resulting in a lower success rate among PT infants. PT infants showed delayed emergence of intentionality (prevalence of goal-directed behaviors) compared to FT infants in both tasks. Amount and variability of behavioral performance significantly correlated with task success differentially across age. The learning differences documented between PT and FT infants suggest means-end problem-solving tasks may be useful for the early detection of learning delays. The identification of behaviors associated with learning and success across age may be used to guide interventions aimed at advancing early learning for infants at risk.
|Short Title||Research in Developmental Disabilities|