The relation of play and sensorimotor behavior to language in the second year.

J. A. Ungerer*, M. Sigman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

77 Citations (Scopus)


The concurrent and predictive relations of sensorimotor behavior and play to language in the second year were assessed. 19 preterm and 20 full-term infants were tested at 13 1/2 and 22 months of age. Functional play directed toward dolls and other persons and meaningfully related sequences of functional and symbolic acts at 13 1/2 months were associated with language measured at 13 1/2 months and 9 months later. Concurrent positive relations between sensorimotor behavior and language were found only at 22 months for object-permanence skills. There were no significant positive relations between sensorimotor behaviors at 13 1/2 months and language at 22 months. The consistent relations found between play and language in this research derived from the infants' ability to translate experience into symbols that are used as a means of interacting and communicating with others. Sensorimotor behavior and language were much more loosely associated in the same age period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1448-1455
Number of pages8
JournalChild Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1984

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