Designing cognitive stimulating environments for infants and toddlers

Document Type


Publication Date



The purpose of the study was to review existing literature on the development of cognitive functioning and subsequent interpretations of environmental stimuli to develop an evidence-based hypothetical design for a prototype nursery to enhance the perception and cognition of infants and toddlers. To this end, literature on the cognitive development of both humans and animals was analyzed as it relates to the evolution of neurobiological processes to identify specific developmental capacities of infants and toddlers in the perception and detection of environmental stimuli. From this evidence-based knowledge, the researchers developed hypothetical designs as a starting point for further study. The methodology used for the study centered on a review of existing literature about biological and neurological development of sensory perception and the detection of stimuli. More specifically, the researchers looked at the neurobiological processes that enable infants and toddlers to detect sensation, and at the ways in which environmental sensations may be enhanced in order to strengthen neural connections. As part of this analysis, the researchers considered evolutionary perspectives, particularly as they relate to elements found in nature, and analyzed literature pertaining to children who were denied access to sensory stimulation during their formative years. The result was the development of a hypothetical prototype interior environment that could replicate the variations of basic stimulation patterns found within nature. The subsequent data were then analyzed and cross-referenced with existing research to form suppositions on safety and feasibility. The end result was the development of a prototype nursery as a hypothetical solution to enhancing sensory stimulation of children in their formative years, one that can now be implemented and studied further to determine its efficacy and impact on the development of infants and toddlers. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Publication Title

Journal of Interior Design

First Page Number


Last Page Number




This document is currently not available here.