Strength of Infants' Bimanual Reaching Patterns is Related to the Onset of Upright Locomotion
Article first published online: 29 JUL 2013
Copyright © International Society on Infant Studies (ISIS)
How to Cite
Atun-Einy, O., Berger, S. E., Ducz, J. and Sher, A. (2013), Strength of Infants' Bimanual Reaching Patterns is Related to the Onset of Upright Locomotion. Infancy. doi: 10.1111/infa.12030
- Article first published online: 29 JUL 2013
- Israel Science Foundation. Grant Number: 208/07
Infants typically exhibit a shift from unimanual to bimanual reaching toward the end of their first year, which has been linked to walking onset. Until now, however, it has been unclear whether it was the onset of walking per se that influenced reaching patterns or whether a more general shift to an upright posture might have prompted the reorganization of the motor system. To address this question, the current study longitudinally chronicled the uni- and bimanual reaching preferences of 25 infants every 3 weeks starting at 7 months, prior to the onset of pulling-to-stand and through the onset of cruising. Experimenters recorded infants' reaching behavior via a semi-structured reaching procedure and documented their motor development. There was no relationship between the shift from uni- to bimanual reaching and the onset of pulling-to-stand. However, the onset of cruising was related to a shift in reaching pattern preference, suggesting that the increase in infants' bimanual reaching was prompted by a reorganization of the motor system in which the arms are recruited for use in new ways to support locomotion. We also discuss individual differences in the trajectory of reaching activity in terms of the pitfalls of using age as an explanatory variable.