THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TOUCH AND INFANTS' UPRIGHT POSTURE DURING THE FIRST YEAR OF WALKING
Clark, Jane E
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Much of the research on postural development has focused on changes in trunk and lower limb control. However, the hands may also play an integral role as young infants learn to stand and walk. In this study, we examine the hypothesis that with increasing walking experience infants improve their ability to use the hand adaptively for postural control. Six infants were studied longitudinally from 1-month pre-walking to 9-months post-walking while they stood touching a static contact surface. Touch forces (TF) were examined across 10 confidence ellipses each containing 10% of the infants' postural sway. The results indicated that as infants gained walking experience they applied more TF the farther they were away from their postural center. With development, infants gain an understanding of their body position and use touch differently depending on their current position relative to their "functional boundaries."