Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Jim Boismier

Second Advisor

Sheldon Hendricks

Third Advisor

William Callahan


The relationship between patterned visual stimulation and behavior in newborn human infants has been studied in a variety of situations (Fantz, 196 3; Hershenson, 1965; Haith, 1965; Bruner, 1968; Salapatek, 1968; Wagner, 1972; Friedman 1972; Boismier, 1972). Typically, the effect of visual stimulation on the behavior of newborn infants during the feeding period has not been studied. This omission may in part be related to studies by Haith (1965) and Bruner (1968) who, in the investigation of the effects of visual stimulation on nonnutritive.sucking rates, concluded that newborns are virtually incapable of looking and sucking at the same time. Bruner, for example, states that, "at birth and for some days after, the infant sucks with eyes tight shut. If the infant looks, sucking is disrupted" (p. 18). If looking does in fact disrupt sucking in the newborn, a question may be raised regarding the appropriateness of visual stimulation during the feeding period. That is, if visual stimulation during the feeding period generates an increase in looking and a corresponding decrease in sucking, will nutritional deficiency also occurs as a result of visual stimulation during the feeding period?

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Psychology Commons