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Journal of ExperimentalPsychology: Copyright 2000 by the American PsychologicalAssociation,Inc. Human Perceptionand Performance 0096-1523/00/$5.00 DOI: 10.10371/0096-1523.26.3.1148
 

Summary: Journal of ExperimentalPsychology: Copyright 2000 by the American PsychologicalAssociation,Inc.
Human Perceptionand Performance 0096-1523/00/$5.00 DOI: 10.10371/0096-1523.26.3.1148
2000, Vol. 26, No. 3, 1148-1166
Walking Infants Adapt Locomotion to Changing Body Dimensions
Karen E. Adolph and Anthony M. Avolio
New York University
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 andobserving how they navigated safe andrisky slopes. Experiment 1verified the reliability
of a new psychophysical procedure for testing infants' responses in 2 experimental conditions. In
Experiment 2, this procedure was used to compare infants' responses on slopes in feather-weight and
lead-weight conditions. The lead weights impaired infants' ability to walk down slopes. Babies adapted
to altered body dimensions by treating the same degree of slope as safe in the feather-weight condition
but as risky in the lead-weight condition. Exploratory activity on the starting platform predicted adaptive
responses on risky slopes.
Locomotion requires continual adaptation of ongoing move-
ments. Changes in body dimensions and variations in the proper-
ties of the ground surface change the physical constraints on
maintaining balance. The present research examined whether

  

Source: Adolph, Karen - Center for Neural Science & Department of Psychology, New York University

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine