chapter
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The Development of Sensori-Motor Thinking

The starting point, or the 'given', of the developmental sequence, is these innate patterns of behaviour; like grasping, sucking, and gross body activity. It is in the interaction of these reflex-like patterns with the environment that a modification and development of behaviour occurs. This can be illustrated as follows. The tendency to suck can be exercised on any object which comes in contact with the lips, but the baby will soon become aware, through experience of sucking, that all objects do not have the same suckable properties. The lips and the mouth will register the shapes of objects, their size, hardness, softness or warmth. The alimentary canal will register the degree of nourishment such objects provide. There will be different sensations associated with sucking the nipple, the bottle, the thumb, or the corner of the pillow. By virtue of these experiences, the baby will register the differences between suckable objects, and the generalized tendency to suck will be modified by the kinds of objects available for sucking.