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Coordinating degrees of freedom during interceptive actions in children

Savelsbergh, Geert and Ricken, Annieck X. and Bennett, Simon (2004) Coordinating degrees of freedom during interceptive actions in children. Experimental brain research, 156 (4). pp. 415-421. ISSN 1432-1106

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Abstract

The aim of the experiment was to examine how children coordinate the degrees of freedom of the arm and trunk when performing interceptive actions that correspond to daily life activities. For that purpose, children were required to reach and grasp a stationary ball while standing (condition C1), a stationary ball while walking (C2), and a moving ball while standing (C3). The resulting movements were measured in world-centered and body-centered coordinates, and then subjected to three-dimensional kinematic analysis. The different coordinate frames of reference were used to determine the interaction between arm and trunk movements. Children adapted their coordination in the two moving conditions (C2 and C3) by decelerating longer towards the ball and exhibiting more interaction between the arm and trunk movements than in the stationary condition (C1). These results indicate that, like adult participants, children adapt to the constraints imposed by complex, interceptive actions by recruiting additional degrees of freedom of the trunk, which are coordinated with the hand to produce a movement that preserves an appropriate level of impact at hand/object collision.

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