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CHAPTER FOUR Motor development: how
 

Summary: CHAPTER FOUR
Motor development: how
infants get into the act
KAREN E. ADOLPH and AMY 5 JOH
Overview: motor actions and psychological function
Motor development is truly amazing. In their first year of life, infants acquire
the ability to direct the ir eyes at targets, support their bodies against gravity,
grasp and manipulate objects, and locomote across the ro om. O ne rea so n why
these accomplishments ap pear so am azing is that motor actions are directly
observable. Whereas we must infer develop ments in perception and cognition
on the basis of infants' over t behaviors, development in motor skills require
no inferenti al leap from observable behavior to underlying competence. When
infants turn their head to gaze up at a paren t's smiling face, stretch out an
arm to reach for an attractive toy, and ma intain balance while toddl ing across
the room, the overt motor performance is direct evidence of their developing
skill.
Perhaps not so readily apparent are the links betw een motor sk ills and
other psychological functions. M otor actions are not merely a matter of
muscles and biomechanics. Perception and cog nition are integral to the real-
time con trol of movement (Ad olph & Berger, 2005, in press; Bertenthal

  

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

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine