2022 Undergraduate Research Showcase


The Effect of Biological and Environmental Factors on Object Exploration and Language Development During Early Childhood

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Iryna Babik


Previous research has suggested there is a positive correlation between high levels of object exploration and increased language development in children. Object and visual-haptic exploration are seen to be less prominent in preterm (PT) infants in the first six months of life. No significant effect was found to suggest that poorer object exploration leads to impaired learning in PT infants. Findings showed that low birth weight infants showed poorer quality of general movements (GM). Poorer GMs, in turn, were associated with less advanced cognitive skills and lower scores on language composition tests in low birth weight infants. Children with neurodevelopmental disorders were seen to have delays in object exploration and language development. Infants with low socioeconomic status (SES) showed greater difficulty transitioning from oral to manual manipulation. Significant disparities were also found between low and high SES infants’ processing skills critical to language development. The effect of parental responsiveness is seen with mothers increasing their usage of referential language in response to infants’ object exploration, which, in turn, results in higher levels of language production in children. The availability of stimulating play objects is also seen to have a significant effect on a child’s developmental status. Children living with low SES tend to be exposed to more risks such as medical illness and family stress. They also experience more serious consequences from these risks than children with high SES. Findings show that children with high SES who were born with severe perinatal complications had similar IQ scores to children with low SES who were born with no perinatal complications. The effect of SES can cancel out or amplify (i.e., double-jeopardy) the effect of perinatal complications.

Both biological and environmental factors can influence object exploration, which, in turn, tends to influence language development.

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