An insight from a Japanese researcher
In this entry, I’ll resort to a viewpoint expressed by Toshiyuki Shiomi, a Japanese author of pediatric literature.
The field of psychology dedicated to the study of infants, specifically those aged 0 to 1, has only recently emerged as a topic of research. This is due to the fact that psychology is based on feedback, and infants are unable to provide specific feedback, which made it difficult to conduct research. With the introduction of advanced technical devices and artificial intelligence (AI), researchers have been able to gather more data and insights about infant behavior and development.
The study of infants from 0 years old involves presenting them with various stimuli, such as pictures or real people, and recording their reactions. Researchers then analyze these reactions to identify patterns and similarities, which can help them understand the functioning of infants. This research has revealed that infants have poor eyesight, are unable to differentiate colors until they reach a certain age, and do not perceive speech as speech.
The data obtained from research on infants is essential for producers of picture books for this age group. Creating a picture book for infants requires an understanding of what they can comprehend and what will hold their interest. Therefore, studying the capabilities and limitations of infants is crucial for developing appropriate content for picture books.
What kind of content can you provide to an infant who hasn’t learned any words yet? Many picture books for infants indicate that reading them can stimulate a child’s imagination, but this concept is somewhat limited in practice. Infants at this age are not developed enough to create a similar situation in their minds.
The content of picture books for 0 years old is typically limited to simple nouns or onomatopoeia, as infants are not yet able to understand complex language. Research has shown that infants do not differentiate between speech and music, and that picture books with repetitive patterns can be effective in boosting their memory and language skills. However, this requires parents or caregivers to read the same book multiple times a day to the child.
Pictures and colours
Simple shapes on solid colours usually go down better with a 0-year-old than colourful pictures with multiple objects. As for the colour, there is no research that suggests the best colour for a picture book. A Japanese nursery has conducted an experiment in which they changed the colour of the floor on a weekly basis. Turns out, blue was the colour that could help children stay focused on a task for a longer time.
Pages and turning pages
Picture books for 0 years old have thick pages. A child can hold a book in its hands and turn pages. Turning pages is an act of independency. It is something a child can do on their own. A miraculous discovery of independence.
The French psychologist Piaget conducted a series of experiments to understand why children enjoy turning pages in picture books. Piaget found that when a child sees a toy, the toy exists for the child. However, if you hide the toy under the mattress, for example, the child perceives that the toy no longer exists, even if they see the bump. Infants are only able to perceive the things they see, and as such, turning the pages of a picture book becomes a way for them to make sense of the world and exercise their independence.
Turning pages, in other words, would become a game where a picture appears and disappears in a short time frame. Yeah, just like tik tok