The overall goal of the research program is to understand flexibility in motor skill acquisition-how infants, children, and adults learn to select appropriate actions, modify ongoing actions, and construct new actions in accordance with thecurrent constraints on action. Flexibility is imperative for adaptive, functional action because local conditions are continually changing. A primary source of variability is the body. Changes in body dimensions and abilities are particularly dramatic during infancy, but throughout the life span, both permanent and temporary alterations to the body change the biomechanical constraints on action. The proposed research aims to: (1) Compareflexibilityin in^nt motor skill acquisition to older children, young adults, and elderly adults based on changes in body constraints;(2) Characterize how body constraints affect the perceptual information obtained during spontaneous visual exploration;and (3) Investigate effects of body constraints in specialized perception-action systems. The studies will use apparatuses and procedures (ascending/descending adjustable cliff, reaching and locomoting through apertures, dynamic reaching in the context of ongoing movement, brachiating over monkey bars) and technologies (head- mounted eye-tracking, video tracking, computerized behavioral coding, hfiotlon tracking) developed in the previous project period to track changes inflexibilityduring leaming and development in infancy and across the life span.

Public Health Relevance

This research on basic perceptual-motor processes has implications for understanding causes of accidental injury from falling and entrapment. The focus on body constraints is relevant for understanding adaptive motor function in people with atypical body dimensions or.size due to obesity, eating disorders, pregnancy, birth defects, and injury.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) Award (R37)
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Special Emphasis Panel (NSS)
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Freund, Lisa S
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New York University
Other Domestic Higher Education
New York
United States
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Franchak, John M; Kretch, Kari S; Adolph, Karen E (2017) See and be seen: Infant-caregiver social looking during locomotor free play. Dev Sci :
Rachwani, Jaya; Soska, Kasey C; Adolph, Karen E (2017) Behavioral flexibility in learning to sit. Dev Psychobiol 59:937-948
Adolph, Karen E; Franchak, John M (2017) The development of motor behavior. Wiley Interdiscip Rev Cogn Sci 8:
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Nayar, Kritika; Franchak, John; Adolph, Karen et al. (2015) From local to global processing: the development of illusory contour perception. J Exp Child Psychol 131:38-55
Kretch, Kari S; Adolph, Karen E (2015) Active vision in passive locomotion: real-world free viewing in infants and adults. Dev Sci 18:736-50
Karasik, Lana B; Tamis-LeMonda, Catherine S; Adolph, Karen E et al. (2015) Places and postures: A cross-cultural comparison of sitting in 5-month-olds. J Cross Cult Psychol 46:1023-1038

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