Cultural Gap Starts in the Cradle Finds Hebrew University Study

The cultural gap between haves and have-nots–one of the most serious issues confronting Israeli society–may have its beginnings in the cradle according to research by a Hebrew University graduate student published here today.

A thesis by Susan Ela. who is seeking an MA in education, showed that the responses of infants as young as four months old differed according to the socioeconomic class into which they were born. Miss Ela based her findings on a study of 80 infants aged 4-7 months from normal middle class homes, culturally disadvantaged homes and institutions.

The infants from the middle class homes had an ability to reach for and manipulate objects which the other infants lacked. Miss Ela reported She said that “Through proper stimulation in middle class homes where there are conscientious mothers who give toys to their children, decorate their rooms and talk to them, infants at four months are reaching out to objects presented to them.

“In environments where there is a paucity of such stimuli, such as institutions and disadvantaged homes, this behavior does not appear frequently at that age.” she said.

Psychologists have been aware that cultural deprivation begins at an early age. But they have long believed that its effects were not noticeable until at least the age of 18 months.

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