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

D'Souza, H.; Cowie, D.; Karmiloff-Smith, A.; Bremner, A.

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Authors

H. D'Souza

A. Karmiloff-Smith

A. Bremner



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.

Citation

D'Souza, H., Cowie, D., Karmiloff-Smith, A., & Bremner, A. (2016). Specialization of the motor system in infancy: From broad tuning to selectively specialized purposeful actions. Developmental Science, 20(4), Article e12409. https://doi.org/10.1111/desc.12409

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 4, 2016
Online Publication Date Jun 2, 2016
Publication Date Jun 2, 2016
Deposit Date May 24, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jun 2, 2017
Journal Developmental Science
Print ISSN 1363-755X
Electronic ISSN 1467-7687
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 20
Issue 4
Article Number e12409
DOI https://doi.org/10.1111/desc.12409

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Accepted Journal Article (2.3 Mb)
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Copyright Statement
This is the accepted version of the following article: D'Souza, H., Cowie, D., Karmiloff-Smith, A. and Bremner, A. J. (2016), Specialization of the motor system in infancy: from broad tuning to selectively specialized purposeful actions. Developmental Science, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/desc.12409. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.







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