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Learning and the Infant Mind$
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Amanda Woodward and Amy Needham

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195301151

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195301151.001.0001

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Multiple Learning Mechanisms in the Development of Action

Multiple Learning Mechanisms in the Development of Action

(p.172) 7 Multiple Learning Mechanisms in the Development of Action
Learning and the Infant Mind

Karen E. Adolph

Amy S. Joh

Oxford University Press

This chapter illustrates how the study of goal-directed motor actions may provide new insights into the processes and mechanisms of infant learning. It identifies two learning mechanisms that are important for the development of balance and locomotion: learning sets and association learning. Learning sets is especially suited for coping with the variability and novelty that characterize everyday actions. Learning sets are optimal for promoting transfer of learning to particular cues with consequences. Unlike learning sets, association learning is not optimal; dealing with novelty and variability because transfer of learning is limited to a narrow range of problems that shares similar cues and contexts. Given its limitations, association learning may serve as a fallback mechanism when learning sets are not viable.

Keywords:   infants, infant learning, balance, locomotion, learning sets, association learning

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