Motor Development Research: I. The Lessons of History Revisited (the 18th to the 20th Century)

Published on Jan 1, 2019in Journal of Motor Learning and Development
· DOI :10.1123/JMLD.2019-0025
Jill Whitall30
Estimated H-index: 30
(UMD: University of Maryland, College Park),
Nadja Schott10
Estimated H-index: 10
(University of Stuttgart)
+ 2 AuthorsJane E. Clark30
Estimated H-index: 30
(UMD: University of Maryland, College Park)
  • References (76)
  • Citations (1)
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Movement is how we explore our environment—an array of motor behaviors and a degree of skillfulness are required for individuals to move, function, and survive. Metaphorically speaking, Janus, the ancient Roman god, has two faces, one facing into the past and one to the future. Before engaging in future scientific endeavors, researchers should reflect on the historical work in their field to help shape future inquiry. As we continue into the 21st century, motor development research must continue...
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How we understand the emergence and development of motor behavior and skillfulness has itself developed over the last 50 years. In reflecting on the history of motor development, it is important to recognize that these ‘reflections’ are much like the painter’s “pentimento.” That is, the ‘canvas’ we paint today of what our science was decades ago is actually a painting with many layers—each representing where our views have changed along the journey. I do not “repent” with these reflections, as s...
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SUMMARY Normally developing infants can produce organized alternating stepping patterns long before they stand alone or attempt to walk, if supported upright on a motorized treadmill. The purpose of this study was to examine whether infants with Down syndrome, who begin to walk at a much later age than non-disabled infants, could produced alternating steps in a similar way. Six of the seven 11-month-old infants studied responded to the treadmill stimulus by producing alternating steps. This sugg...
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Infants acquire independent mobility amidst a flux of body growth. Changes in body dimensions and variations in the ground change the physical constraints on keeping balance. The study examined whether toddlers can adapt to changes in their body dimensions and variations in the terrain by loading them with lead weights and observing how they navigated safe and risky slopes. Experiment 1 verified the reliability of a new psychophysical procedure for testing infants' responses in 2 experimental co...
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We used a computational analysis to identify the basic elements with which the vertebrate spinal cord constructs one complex behavior. This analysis extracted a small set of muscle synergies from the range of muscle activations generated by cutaneous stimulation of the frog hindlimb. The flexible combination of these synergies was able to account for the large number of different motor patterns produced by different animals. These results therefore demonstrate one strategy used by the vertebrate...
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An adequate language is a prerequisite for progress in any area of science, including movement science. Notions of structural units and synergies and the principle of minimal interaction are revisited, discussed, and illustrated with a few examples from recent studies. Equilibrium-point hypothesis is considered an example of identifying significant variables in the control of a voluntary movement.
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Abstract This investigation examined change in a motor pattern requiring multisegmented coordination in older adults. The overarm throw was observed longitudinally in 8 elderly individuals over 7 years. Data were evaluated using Roberton's (Roberton & Halverson, 1984) movement components. Contrasting the assumed pattern of aging, only small declines in movement form were observed. Individual cases revealed additional, noncategorizable declines within component categories, including slower moveme...
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In this investigation of developmental changes in the coordination of perceived optical flow and postural responses, 4 age groups of infants (5-, 7-, 9-, and 13-month-olds) were tested while seated on a force plate in a "moving room." During each trial the walls oscillated in an anteroposterior direction for 12 s, and the postural sway of the infant was measured. The results revealed that infants perceived the frequency and amplitude of the optical flow and scaled their postural responses to the...
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Motor development research has had a rich history over the 20th century with a wide array of scientists contributing to a broad and deep body of literature. Just like the process of development, progress within the field has been non-linear, with rapid periods of growth occurring after the publication of key research articles that changed how we conceptualized and explored motor development. These publications provided new ways to consider developmental issues and, as a result, ignited change in...