In order to successfully complete many routine tasks, individuals must have the proper integration between posture and manual control. This means individuals must adopt body configurations, orientations, and movements that allow them to maintain stability while successfully performing a manual task. In a series of studies, we have examined how the integration between posture and manual control develops in children and declines in older adults. Additionally, we have examined how this integration relates to an individual’s postural stability and ability to adequately perform tasks common to daily life. Using a variety of analytical techniques (inspired from non-linear dynamics and chaos theory), our research has suggested that postural variability is a functional component of typical movement production. Specifically, when performing a manual task, nonrandom postural movements aid the production of manual movements by improving the ability of the motor system to successfully adapt and coordinate movements based on the context of the task and environment.
Collaborators: Richard Van Emmerik (UMass), Jessica Huber (SLHS), Laura Claxton (HK), Shirley Rietdyk (HK)
Students: Josh Liddy