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    Specialization of the motor system in infancy: from broad tuning to selectively specialized purposeful actions

    D'Souza, H. and Cowie, D. and Karmiloff Smith, Annette and Bremner, A.J. (2017) Specialization of the motor system in infancy: from broad tuning to selectively specialized purposeful actions. Developmental Science 20 (4), e12490. ISSN 1363-755x.

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    Abstract

    In executing purposeful actions, adults select sufficient and necessary limbs. But infants often move goal-irrelevant limbs, suggesting a developmental process of motor specialization. Two experiments with 9- and 12-month-olds revealed gradual decreases in extraneous movements in non-acting limbs during unimanual actions. In Experiment 1, 9-month-olds produced more extraneous movements in the non-acting hand/arm and feet/legs than 12-month-olds. In Experiment 2, analysis of the spatiotemporal dynamics of infants’ movements revealed developmental declines in the spatiotemporal coupling of movements between acting and non-acting arms. We also showed that the degree of specialization in infants’ unimanual actions is associated with individual differences in motor experience and visual attention, indicating the experience-dependent and broad functional nature of these developmental changes. Our study provides important new insights into motor development: as in cognitive domains, motor behaviours are initially broadly tuned to their goal, becoming progressively specialized during the first year of life.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
    Research Centre: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2016 10:29
    Last Modified: 04 Aug 2017 13:52
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/15638

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