No bridge too high: Infants decide whether to cross based on the probability of falling not the severity of the potential fall

Kari S. Kretch, Karen E. Adolph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Do infants, like adults, consider both the probability of falling and the severity of a potential fall when deciding whether to cross a bridge? Crawling and walking infants were encouraged to cross bridges varying in width over a small drop-off, a large drop-off, or no drop-off. Bridge width affects the probability of falling, whereas drop-off height affects the severity of the potential fall. For both crawlers and walkers, decisions about crossing bridges depended only on the probability of falling: As bridge width decreased, attempts to cross decreased, and gait modifications and exploration increased, but behaviors did not differ between small and large drop-off conditions. Similarly, decisions about descent depended on the probability of falling: Infants backed or crawled into the small drop-off, but avoided the large drop-off. With no drop-off, infants ran straight across. Results indicate that experienced crawlers and walkers accurately perceive affordances for locomotion, but they do not yet consider the severity of a potential fall when making decisions for action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)336-351
Number of pages16
JournalDevelopmental Science
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2013

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Accidental Falls
Walkers
Locomotion
Gait
Walking
Decision Making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

Cite this

No bridge too high : Infants decide whether to cross based on the probability of falling not the severity of the potential fall. / Kretch, Kari S.; Adolph, Karen E.

In: Developmental Science, Vol. 16, No. 3, 05.2013, p. 336-351.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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