Reaching and grasping are powerful tools that allow infants to explore their physical environment. In his talk prof. Gredebäck will provide three examples for how reaching and grasping also facilitate cognitive growth.

1)      The ability to perceive and interpret other people’s action is facilitated by action simulation — as we learn to act we also learn about other people.

2)     The development of executive control can be bootstrapped by prospective control required for own action execution and goal selection — as we act we develop future oriented processes needed for long-term planning throughout life.

3)     Learning about geometry sharpens the foundations of mathematics — active exploration provide a rich source of magnitude information that boost the approximate number system. All of these abilities require a way to store and retrieve information gained through action and active exploration. Preliminary EEG data suggesting that infants are able to form statistical representations of cumulative events — illustrating a process by which information from active exploration can be represented and retrieved. The overarching goal is to illustrate that infants develop cognitive capabilities through a constructive process founded in infants own actions, and active explorations of the world.