A novel technology for investigating the dynamics of infant perseverative reaching

Jing Feng, John Spencer, Gregor Schöner, Melissa W. Clearfield, Esther Thelen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


We designed and tested a novel technology that enables us to capture the entire stream of behavior in perseverative reaching tasks. Beyond fitting the criteria of the conventional A-not-B task, the novel technology gives us better access to the core features of perseverative reaching, such as timing, behavior history, and reinforcement. The technology allows us to quantitatively manipulate reinforcement characteristics, to accurately program onsets, delays, and stimulus durations as well as locations and salience of the targets, and to automatically record the number of reaches to each target and compute timing. We did a validation study on this new technology, investigating the influence of a number of novel factors on perseverative reaching. We replicated the A-not-B phenomenon and associated developmental changes. In addition, results demonstrated that the new technology offers insights into infants' behavior beyond the first reaching action. Moreover, data collection is fully automated, yielding precise, quantitative data. Future studies using this technology will capitalize on the salient advantages of this technology to more precisely measure goal-directed actions and understand the development of reaching skill.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)911-919
Number of pages9
JournalBehavior Research Methods
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007

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