Grasping Glasses

Delivery Method: 

We know infants enjoy grasping and mouthing objects of many different kinds. Typically, these items are inviting toys provided by parents and teachers. Infants probably have more ideas for playing with these toys than they are able to put into action. For example, if they are on their tummies using their hands pressed on the floor in order to hold their heads up, it is hard to reach out for an interesting object. How can we learn when infants become able to think about what they’d like to do with something that captures their interest in the environment?

In this Videative we discover how infants begin making the transition from instrumental action (grasping) to symbolic action (thinking about grasping). By studying an infant’s subtle movements, we begin to understand what goal the infant has in mind. Notice how the infant (on the left) curls his fingers in anticipation of grasping a glass. Although the glass remains just out of reach, the infant marks his goal by carrying out the grasping action at a distance. He maintains focus on his goal by repeating the curling action a second time. These early symbolic actions support the later emergence of shared communicative gestures such as pointing.

Keywords: Infants, Containers, Child-Object, Movement, Grasping, Goal Marking, videative

Length of videative: 9 paragraphs, 9 video subclips

Length of stand-alone master video clip: 1 minute, 18 seconds