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Lynne Kiorpes, Gardiner von Trapp, Amelie Pham, Jesse Lingeman, Kasey Soska, Karen Adolph, Claes von Hofsten, Kerstin Rosander; Developmental studies of visual-motor integration: A comparative approach. Journal of Vision 2010;10(7):1078. doi: 10.1167/10.7.1078.
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Effortless, fluid integration of perception and action is ubiquitous during successful navigation of our ever-changing environment. How this integration plays out in real time is understudied, largely because visual perception and motor actions are often studied piecemeal by different investigators. We have taken a comparative, developmental approach to this problem. We used a dynamic reaching paradigm to track developmental changes in visually-guided motor control, investigating how infants calibrate and refine motor actions over development. We conducted parallel studies in human and macaque infants and found striking similarities across primate species. We tested visually-guided reaching in 50 human infants cross-sectionally (6–15 mos) and 2 macaque monkeys longitudinally (5–6 mos). We measured handedness and latency as a function of target location, and localization and grasp orientation errors. Infants were seated in a swivel chair that was rotated to face a vertical reaching board at the beginning of each trial. Target position was varied in a pseudo-random order trial-to-trial. All infants reached reliably for the targets. Human infants showed a slight bias for right hand reaches compared to left; they occasionally reached with both hands. Monkeys performed similarly, except they had a slight left bias. Importantly, however, both species' hand choices changed systematically with object position across the reaching space. The shortest reach latencies were to the right and left of midline, with longer latencies for midline and extreme lateral locations. Localization and grasp orientation errors were quickly corrected in human infants and declined with age; monkeys rarely mis-reached but grasp orientation errors declined over sessions. Human and monkey infants seamlessly used perceptual information to plan motor actions across visual space, to guide actions adaptively, and to correct slight errors in execution. Even the youngest infants were adept at perceptual-motor integration, and visually-guided actions only became more fluid over development.
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