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Mind Your Step: Learning to Walk in Complex Environments [dataset] Open Access

In everyday contexts, children must respond to both self-related constraints (their own skills and abilities) and environmental constraints (external obstacles and goals). How do young children simultaneously accommodate these to support skilled and flexible behaviour? We used walking in a complex environment as a testbed for two hypotheses. Hypothesis 1: Children will accommodate the self-related constraint of high foot placement variability via Dynamic Scaling (Snapp-Childs & Bingham, 2009). Hypothesis 2: Children will plan ahead, even in complex environments. In our task, 3- to 5-year-olds and adults walked over obstacle sequences of varying complexity. We measured foot placement around the first obstacle in the sequence. Hypothesis 1 was partially supported. In simple, single obstacle environments, children engaged in Dynamic Scaling like adults. Those with more variable foot placement left greater margins of error between the feet and the obstacle. However, in complex, multiple obstacle settings, children employed large, un-tailored margins of error. This parallels other multisensory tasks in which children do not rely on the relative variability of sensory inputs. Hypothesis 2 was supported. Like adults, children planned ahead for environmental constraints. Children adjusted foot placement around the first obstacle depending on the upcoming obstacle sequence. In doing so, they demonstrate surprisingly sophisticated planning. This contrasts with children’s relatively poor planning on other motor and non-motor tasks. We, therefore, show that in the motor domain, even very young children simultaneously control both self-related and environmental constraints. This allows flexible, safe and efficient behaviour.

Descriptions

Resource type
Dataset
Contributors
Creator: Rachel Mowbray 1
Creator: Dorothy Cowie 1
1 Durham University
Funder
Economic and Social Research Council
Research methods
Other description
Keyword
Development
Motor Development
Walking
Planning
Obstacles
Motion Capture
Dynamic Scaling
Subject
Psychology
Location
Language
Cited in
doi:10.1007/s00221-020-05821-y
Identifier
ark:/32150/r13t945q809
doi:10.15128/r13t945q809
Rights
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY)

Publisher
Durham University
Date Created

File Details

Depositor
R. Mowbray
Date Uploaded
Date Modified
27 April 2020, 09:04:13
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File format: zip (ZIP Format)
Mime type: application/zip
File size: 5152
Last modified: 2020:04:16 11:56:00+01:00
Filename: Mind Your Step [dataset].zip
Original checksum: b53bb6fb4cefa8f7344f8dc80437689c
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User R. Mowbray has updated Mind Your Step: Learning to Walk in Complex Environments [dataset] 7 months ago