Intraindividual variability in the development of motor skills in childhood

Karen Adolph, Whitney G. Cole, Beatrix Vereijken

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

However you look at it, children’s movements are variable. Intraindividual variability is a signature component of motor development. A toddler’s foot traces a variable trajectory through the air, each shaky step is a different wobbly variant of the previous one, and the shape of the walking path varies from trial to trial. For some aspects of motor skill, intraindividual variability decreases over development: An infant’s foot trajectory becomes smoother in the course of a step, each step in a sequence becomes more similar to the last, and the walking path becomes more consistent across trials (Cheron et al., 2001; Looper, Wu, Barroso, Ulrich, & Ulrich, 2006). For other aspects of skill, variability continues or increases over development: Foot trajectory varies to clear obstacles in the path, steps vary to accommodate variations in the terrain, and the shape of the walking path varies to navigate a cluttered room (Adolph et al., 2012; Dominici, Ivanenko, Cappellini, Zampagni, & Lacquaniti, 2010). For still other aspects of motor skill, the structure of variability changes over development: In a novice walker, speed and step length vary willy-nilly from step to step, causing a random pattern of variability, but in an experienced infant walker, step length and speed increase in tandem over the sequence and step-to-step variability has a coherent structure (Badaly & Adolph, 2008).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Intraindividual Variability Across the Life Span
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Pages59-83
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781136285233
ISBN (Print)9780415534864
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

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Motor Skills
Walking
Foot
childhood
Infant Equipment
Child Development
infant
Air
air

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)

Cite this

Adolph, K., Cole, W. G., & Vereijken, B. (2014). Intraindividual variability in the development of motor skills in childhood. In Handbook of Intraindividual Variability Across the Life Span (pp. 59-83). Taylor and Francis. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203113066

Intraindividual variability in the development of motor skills in childhood. / Adolph, Karen; Cole, Whitney G.; Vereijken, Beatrix.

Handbook of Intraindividual Variability Across the Life Span. Taylor and Francis, 2014. p. 59-83.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Adolph, K, Cole, WG & Vereijken, B 2014, Intraindividual variability in the development of motor skills in childhood. in Handbook of Intraindividual Variability Across the Life Span. Taylor and Francis, pp. 59-83. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203113066
Adolph K, Cole WG, Vereijken B. Intraindividual variability in the development of motor skills in childhood. In Handbook of Intraindividual Variability Across the Life Span. Taylor and Francis. 2014. p. 59-83 https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203113066
Adolph, Karen ; Cole, Whitney G. ; Vereijken, Beatrix. / Intraindividual variability in the development of motor skills in childhood. Handbook of Intraindividual Variability Across the Life Span. Taylor and Francis, 2014. pp. 59-83
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