Cross-modal transfer in infants: Relationship to prematurity and socioeconomic background

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Compared 94 full-term middle class, full-term lower-class, and preterm infants on cross-modal and visual intramodal functioning. In the cross-modal tasks, infants were familiarized either orally or tactually; in the intramodal tasks they were familiarized visually. Visual recognition memory was assessed by the paried-comparison technique. All 3 groups demonstrated comparable visual-visual intramodal functioning, whereas only the full-term, middle-class group was able to transfer information across modalities. Failure in cross-modal transfer was discussed from the perspective of (a) a specific deficit in tactual sensory processing, (b) a general deficit in rate of information processing, and (c) a deficit in sensory integration per se. It is suggested that cross-modal functioning in infants may provide a sensitive index for assessing cognitive deficit in the early years. (53 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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