Motor development is the study of the emergence of motor ability and how it co-evolves with perceptual abilities in infants. Newborns have certain pre-programmed reflexes, e.g., the suckling or the grasping reflex. However, every child learns all other motor behavior through experience. This field aims to describe this process. The field borrows from developmental psychology, motor control, and biomechanics. Measurements, typically movement kinematics and gaze behavior, are challenging in this field.

Our group is currently involved in seated reaching, postural sway of seated infants (healthy and those at risk of Autism Spectral Disorder), and locomotion of infants.

Motor Development


Postural Sway of Sitting Infants on Solid and Foam Surfaces while Engaged in Concurrent Tasks

Independently sitting infants alter sway based on concurrent task demands. Research in our lab has demonstrated that infants reduce sway to better interact with a toy held in their hand (Claxton et al., 2014), and to better focus on a small image viewed on a monitor (Claxton et al., 2013b).  Given that these concurrent tasks […] Read More

Validation of the Wii Balance Board as a Device to Assess Postural Sway in Sitting Infants

The Nintendo Wii Balance Board (WBB) has proven to be a valid alternative to a traditional force plate when assessing standing postural sway in a variety of populations, including children and older adults.  However, the efficacy of the WBB to capture the dynamics of infants in a sitting posture has not been established.  The ability […] Read More

Characteristics of Postural Sway in Infants at High- and Low-risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder

This is an interdisciplinary project involving our lab and Dr. AJ Schwichtenberg’s lab in HDFS.  This longitudinal project is investigating early-markers of Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Our part of the project involves collecting sitting postural sway data on infants in order to identify key differences in postural control between infants who are at a high-risk and […] Read More