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J Neurosci. 1982 May;2(5):545-52.

Ontogenetic development of postural control in man: adaptation to altered support and visual conditions during stance.


Normal young children ranging in age from 1 1/2 to 10 years were assessed in a number of experimental paradigms testing the ability to adapt quickly their strategy of control to altered support surface and visual conditions. The experimental protocols, using a movable platform and visual surround, and the analytic techniques, using EMGs and measures of reaction forces and body motions, were identical to those employed in a complementary study in this issue (Nashner, L. M., F. O. Black, and C. Wall, III (1982) J. Neurosci. 2: 536-544). The structure of automatic postural adjustments in young children was, with the exception of greater variability, similar to that of adult subjects studied previously. However, young children below the age of 7 1/2 years were unable to suppress systematically the influence of inputs derived from the support surface or from vision when these provided inappropriate orientation information due to the motion of these surfaces. The discussion emphasizes that the automatic postural adjustments and the context-dependent reweighting of support surface, vestibular, and visual inputs are organizationally separate processes and that the hierarchically lower level automatic process matures before the higher level adaptive processes.

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