Exploratory behavior in toddlers: Do sleep characteristics play a role?

Anat Scher, Hilla Hammerman, Eleanor Schneider

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The purpose of this report was to examine whether difficulties in initiating and maintaining uninterrupted sleep are associated with the child's ability to focus attention and persist in purposeful manipulation of novel objects. Play observations were obtained for 54 low-risk 14-month-old children who participated in a longitudinal study of sleep. The sleep characteristics were measured using questionnaires and movement recorders - Actigraphs. Purposeful object manipulation and exploratory behavior was assessed using the POST (Schneider, 2005) - a 5-minute video-taped procedure that exposes infants to novel objects. Three measures were used to evaluate toddlers' exploratory behavior: the diversity, the sum and the duration of time spent engaged in exploratory actions. Results indicated that lower levels of exploratory behavior were demonstrated among children who had difficulties in settling to sleep compared to those who did not (F=2.46, p<.05); higher levels of exploration were more common in children whose parents perceived them as having no sleep problems (F=5.03, p<.05). The objective sleep measures, derived from the actigraph, were not found to be associated with exploratory behavior. In light of the importance of both sleep and exploration to development, clarifying if and how the two domains are interrelated is an important question for further psychobiological research.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew Directions in Developmental Psychobiology
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781616683092
ISBN (Print)9781606926345
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2009

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2009 Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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