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Intermanual Transfer of Shapes in Preterm Human Infants From 33 to 34 + 6 Weeks Postconceptional Age


  • We thank the babies and their parents who participated in the experiment, the staff members working in the CHU of Grenoble, the CNRS, the Rhône-Alpes region (Funds SRER CIBLE 2007 obtained by E.G., number: 07 016861 01-TZ 016), Olivier Pascalis, Heather Larin, and Florence Berger.

concerning this article should be addressed to Fleur Lejeune, Laboratoire de Psychologie et Neurocognition (CNRS, UMR 5105), SHS, Domaine Universitaire, Université Pierre Mendès-France (Grenoble 2), 1251 avenue centrale, BP 47, 38040 Grenoble Cedex 9, France. Electronic mail may be sent to


This study investigated the ability of preterm infants to learn an object shape with one hand and discriminate a new shape in the opposite hand (without visual control). Twenty-four preterm infants between 33 and 34 + 6 gestational weeks received a tactile habituation task with either their right or left hand followed by a tactile discrimination task in the opposite hand. The results confirmed that habituation occurred for both shapes and both hands. Infants subsequently held the novel shape longer in the opposite hand. The results reveal that preterm infants are capable of intermanual transfer of shape information. In spite of the immaturity of the corpus callosum in preterm infants, its development seems to be sufficient to allow some transfer of information between both hands.