Independent stance is one of the most difficult motor milestones to achieve. Newly standing infants exhibit exaggerated body movements and can only stand for a brief amount of time. Given the difficult nature of bipedal stance, these unstable characteristics are slow to improve. However, we demonstrate that infants can increase their stability when engaged in a standing goal-directed task. Infants' balance was measured while standing and while standing and holding a visually attractive toy. When holding the toy, infants stood for a longer period of time, exhibited less body sway, and more mature postural dynamics. These results demonstrate that even with limited standing experience, infants can stabilize posture to facilitate performance of a concurrent task.
Date of this Version
Claxton, L.J., Haddad, J.M., Ponto K., Ryu, J.H., and Newcomer, S.C. (2013). Newly Standing Infants Increase Postural Stability When Performing a Supra-Postural Task. PLoS ONE 8(8): e71288. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0071288.