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Cross-Modal Perception: Can Relate What They Feel With What They See (1-4 Months)

In order for infants to make sense of the variety of sights, sounds, and feelings that buzz around them, they need to coordinate this input and make associations between one sense (e.g., touch) and another (e.g., sight). This ability is called “intermodal matching.” Very young infants have been shown to be capable of relating what they feel with what they see. In one study, one-month-old infants were able to pick out the image of a pacifier that had recently been experienced only by sucking from a group of other images. Another study found that one-month-old infants could identify a hard or soft object that they had previously mouthed but had not seen. These infants were able to match what the objects felt like with what the objects looked like.


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Kuhl, P. K., & Meltzoff, A. N. (1984). The intermodal representation of speech in infants. Infant Behavior & Development, 7, 361

Meltzoff, A. N., & Borton, R. W. (1979). Intermodal matching by human neonates. Nature, 282(5737), 403-404. (SSCI: 154)

Patterson, M. L., & Werker, J. F. (2003). Two-month-old infants match phonetic information in lips and voice. Developmental Science, 6(2), 191-196. (SSCI: 4)