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Hum Mov Sci. 2007 Dec;26(6):927-42. Epub 2007 Sep 29.

Movement adaptations in 7- to 10-year-old typically developing children: evidence for a transition in feedback-based motor control.

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Department of Developmental and Clinical Psychology, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.


We used a modified double-step pointing task to study movement adaptations in 7- to 10-year-old typically developing children. We found that the majority (63%) were able to optimally adapt fast, goal-directed visually-guided movements to a late change in target location meeting the requirements of speed and accuracy. A minority (35%) failed to meet the requirement of accuracy resulting in a less optimal adaptation. The results showed that the ability to adapt movements optimally develops before the age of 7 years in typically developing children. Literature proposes a transition in development of motor control around the age of 8 years. The present results replicate and extend this by suggesting that this transition affects the later phases of fast, goal-directed visually-guided movements rather than the early phases, such as movement programming and acceleration. Finally, the results indicate that the optimally adapted movements were the result of a specific strategy in which a specific component of movement execution was slowed on all trials. This suggests that 7- to 10-year-old typically developing children have developed implicit knowledge about which movement components are the most efficient to adapt.

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