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Automated Classification of Manual Exploratory Behaviors Using Sensorized Objects and Machine Learning: A Preliminary Proof-of-Concept Study

Priya Patel, Harsh Pandya, Rajiv Ranganathan, and Mei-Hua Lee

Manual exploratory behaviors during object interaction that form the basis of tool use behavior, are mostly qualitatively characterized in terms of their frequency and duration of occurrence. To fully understand their functional and clinical significance, quantitative movement characterization is needed alongside their qualitative analysis. However, there are two challenges in quantifying them—(a) reliably classifying the type of movement and (b) performing this classification on a time series automatically. Here, we propose a machine learning-based classification method to address these challenges. We measured three common exploratory behaviors (object rotation, fingering, and throwing) in college-aged adults using “sensorized objects” that had wireless Inertial Measurement Units embedded in them. We then calculated several statistical features based on linear acceleration and angular velocity data to train machine learning classifiers to identify these behaviors. All classifiers identified the behaviors with a substantially higher accuracy (average accuracy = 84.95 ± 4.16%) than chance level (33.33%). Of all models tested, Support Vector Machine Quadratic, Support Vector Machine Medium Gaussian, and Narrow Neural Network were the best models in classifying the three behaviors (average accuracy = 89.34 ± 0.12%). This classification method shows potential for automating movement characterization of exploratory behaviors, thereby may aid early assessment of neurodevelopmental disorders.

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Exploring an Alternative to Record Motor Competence Assessment: Interrater and Intrarater Audio–Video Reliability

Cristina Menescardi, Aida Carballo-Fazanes, Núria Ortega-Benavent, and Isaac Estevan

The Canadian Agility and Movement Skill Assessment (CAMSA) is a valid and reliable circuit-based test of motor competence which can be used to assess children’s skills in a live or recorded performance and then coded. We aimed to analyze the intrarater reliability of the CAMSA scores (total, time, and skill score) and time measured, by comparing the live audio with the video assessment method. We also aimed to assess the interrater reliability using both audio- and video coding on a sample of 177 Spanish children. We found moderate-to-excellent inter- and intrarater video–audio intraclass correlation coefficients for the CAMSA score, time measured, time score, and skill score. Nonsignificant differences were found between video and audio recordings in the CAMSA score, time measured, and time score. Our findings support the rationale that different raters and scoring methods can accurately assess the participants’ motor competence level using the CAMSA Spanish version.

Open access

Bidirectional Relationship Over Time Between Body Mass Index and Fundamental Movement Skill Domains Measured by a Process-Oriented Method in Childhood: A 3-Year Longitudinal Study

Maria Kasanen, Arto Laukkanen, Donna Niemistö, Asko Tolvanen, Francisco Ortega, and Arja Sääkslahti

The worldwide increase in childhood overweight and obesity underscores the need to study variables like fundamental movement skill (FMS) levels from early childhood. This study investigated the bidirectional longitudinal relationship between body mass index (BMI) and process-oriented FMSs, including locomotor skills and object control skills in 675 Finnish children, aged 3–8 years at baseline (50.5% female, mean age 5.5 years) over 3 years. Standardized BMI-for-age SD scores (BMI SDS z-scores) followed Finnish national standards. The FMS assessment comprised four subtests from the Test of Gross Motor Development, third edition. Age-adjusted standardized residuals of FMS or skill domains and BMI SDS z-scores were used in a two-level, cross-classified, cross-lagged regression analysis, accounting for gender, and baseline value of the dependent variables. The results showed no statistically significant longitudinal relationship between BMI and FMS or its skill domains for either gender in either direction. This suggests that BMI and process-oriented FMS, encompassing locomotor skill and object control skill, develop independently, possibly influenced by unexplored variables. These findings contradict earlier results based on product-oriented measurements, which may include a physical capacity component. The outcomes further underscore the importance of monitoring weight status from early childhood, given its significant association with later-life weight conditions.

Free access

Coordination Dynamics in Motor Learning: Acquisition and Adaptation in a Serial Stimulus Tracking Task

Matheus M. Pacheco, Natália F.A. Ambrósio, Fernando G. Santos, Go Tani, and Luciano Basso

The dynamics of mastering the degrees of freedom in motor learning are still far from being understood. The present work explored coordination dynamics in a redundant task, relating it to performance and adaptation in a serial stimulus tracking task. One hundred and sixty-three children (10–14 years of age) continuously responded to sequential stimuli (containing five stimuli) by pressing the respective sensors before the next stimulus presentation. Participants performed 120 trials with a fixed sequence (4–2–5–3–1) and a fixed interstimuli interval (800 ms) to learn the first pattern (practice phase). Then, a changed sequence (4–2–5–1–3) with a shorter interval (700 ms) was presented for 40 trials (adaptation phase). To measure coordination and its change, we calculated the correlation matrix of the stimulus–touch interval between the five sensors in blocks of 20 trials of the practice phase and classified individuals in terms of clusters. We found associations between coordination dynamics, performance curves, and adaptation in both coordination and performance. Furthermore, using network analyses, we found a tendency for all groups to increase the clustering coefficient. We discuss the possibility of this result representing a process of progressive segregation.

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Spaced Use of Social Media Apps Among Motor Practice Trials Impacts Performance Without Influencing Mental Fatigue and Motor Learning

Marina Gonçalves Leal, José Eduardo dos Martírios Luz, Ana Kariele da Silva Santos, Cicero Luciano Alves Costa, Paulo Felipe Ribeiro Bandeira, Cassio de Miranda Meira Jr, and Giordano Marcio Gatinho Bonuzzi

We aimed to investigate the impact of smartphone use during intertrial intervals within a distributed practice regime on mental fatigue, performance, and learning of a balance motor skill. One hundred and thirty-six participants were randomly divided into two groups: the smartphone use group (SMARTPHONE) and the control group (CONTROL). The SMARTPHONE accessed social media during the rest periods within a distributed practice of a balance task, whereas the CONTROL rested passively during the rest periods. The participants practiced the toe-touch task. The participants underwent a pretest consisting of one trial. Subsequently, the participants were engaged in practice, completing six trials interspersed with 2-min intervals of either rest or smartphone use. Following the practice phase, a posttest was conducted, and after 24 hr, we administered a retention test and a transfer test. The number of touches and the number of errors (contacting the ground with the free leg to regain balance) were performance measures. We evaluated the participants’ mental fatigue after the practice session using a visual analog scale. The groups demonstrated similar mental fatigue after practice. Our results suggest that using social media on smartphones during rest periods within a distributed practice impairs performance but not motor learning.

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A Holistic Focus of Attention Increases Torque Production and Electromyography Activity in an Isokinetic Elbow Flexion

Kevin A. Becker and Marco A. Avalos

Recent research suggests that both a holistic focus of attention (i.e., focusing on the general feeling of a movement) and an external focus of attention improve motor performance relative to an internal focus of attention. The purpose of this study was to determine how a holistic, internal, and external focus impacts torque production and electromyography (EMG) activity in the biceps brachii during an isokinetic elbow flexion task. Twenty-four young adults completed five repetitions of an isokinetic elbow flexion task in internal, external, and holistic focus conditions. Peak torque, integrated torque, peak EMG amplitude, integrated EMG, and neuromuscular efficiency were averaged across trials in each condition. Peak torque, integrated torque, peak EMG amplitude, and integrated EMG were all significantly higher with a holistic focus than an internal or external focus. Internal and external focus conditions did not differ from each other in any variable. No differences due to focus were observed for neuromuscular efficiency. The present results suggest that using a holistic focus of attention can be a useful strategy for motor tasks requiring peak force production. However, it does not appear that this benefit is related to increased neuromuscular efficiency, as we hypothesized.

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Construct Validity and Reliability of the Affordances for Motor Behavior of Schoolchildren in South India

Vinuta Deshpande, Pratiksha Kalgutkar, Ana Filipa Silva, and Fábio Saraiva Flôres

The Affordances for Motor Behavior of Schoolchildren (AMBS) is a standardized self-reporting tool comprising 73 questions, organized into seven sections aiming to assess affordances in children’s regular contexts. This investigation aims to establish the reliability and validity of the results obtained from the AMBS in South Indian children. The AMBS reliability and construct validity were evaluated in 393 Indian families whose children were aged between 6 and 10 years old. The internal consistency of the AMBS was evaluated by retesting the tool in a subsample of 30 families following a 14-day interval between assessments (intraclass correlation coefficient), showing a reliability level of .933. The validity of the scale was evaluated using the confirmatory factor analysis. The model that was tested indicated a very good fit, and the structural model presented significant loading coefficients from the identified variables to the theoretically specified latent factors. Positively significant correlation values were found between factors: home and materials (r = .78), home and school (r = .55), and materials and school (r = .77). Our findings suggest that AMBS is a reliable assessment tool and can evaluate the affordances provided to South Indian children. This information can be used to develop interventions to improve the physical activity levels of these children.

Free access

Impacts of Developmental Coordination Disorder on Postural Control Mechanisms in Children and Early Adolescents

Sirine Guetiti, Geneviève Cadoret, Félix Chénier, and Mariève Blanchet

Several studies have demonstrated balance impairments in children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD). However, a recent meta-analysis reports that none of the existing studies investigated the entire construct of balance across the same postural task. It is unclear whether anticipatory postural adjustments before voluntary unperturbed leaning tasks are altered in DCD. Anticipatory postural adjustment’s impact on postural control and limits of stability as well as the contribution of proprioception in these mechanisms are also unknown. This study compared the center of pressure displacements of participants with DCD (n = 30) to typically developing participants (n = 20) (9–12 years old). Standing on an AMTI force plate, participants were asked to lean as far as possible forward, backward, rightward, and leftward in both natural and with eyes closed + foam conditions (eight separated trials). The statistical analysis revealed that the DCD group had larger anticipatory postural adjustments, maximal center of pressure excursion, and greater postural instabilities than the control group. The proprioceptive condition does not systematically influence postural performance in DCD. These deficits are, however, increased in mediolateral directions. These impairments could interfere with children’s performance during daily and physical activities and even negatively impact social inclusion.

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Essential Motor Skills and Evidence-Based Activities for Enhancing Child Motor Skill Development During Out-of-School Time Programming: An Expert Consensus Study

Peter Stoepker, Duke Biber, Brian Dauenhauer, Leah E. Robinson, and David A. Dzewaltowski

Background: Locomotor and object control skills are considered essential skills for children to learn due to their potential impact in aiding in future health-enhancing physical activity. Evidence indicates that out-of-school time programs (OST) can provide meaningful movement opportunities for children. It has been found that leaders of OST programs are not equipped with the proper training to improve children’s motor skills. The purpose of this study was to gather expert consensus on the essential motor skills that should be practiced and evidence-based activities that should be integrated during OST programming. Methods: A three-round Delphi method was used to establish expert consensus on essential motor skills that children (5–10 years of age) should practice and evidence-based activities that should be integrated during OST programming to enhance child motor skill development. Results: Seven experts completed three rounds, and consensus was established (>70% agreement). Five essential motor skills were identified: overhand throwing, kicking, catching, jumping, and striking. Six evidence-based activities were agreed upon: team sport play, racket sports, swimming, resistance training, jogging/walking, and game-based approaches. Conclusion: Results from this study provide specific motor skills and evidence-based activities that program leaders could integrate during OST programming to enhance child motor skill development.

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Do Parental Beliefs and Support Predict the Motor Competence of Youth With Visual Impairments?

Alexandra Stribing, Emily N. Gilbert, Lauren J. Lieberman, and Ali Brian

Parents tend to play a vital role in their child’s motor competence for youth with visual impairments. However, little research has explored parental mindsets and support (e.g., transportation) surrounding their child’s motor skills and how it may predict motor competence. The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which parents’ mindset items along with parental support may predict their children’s actual motor competence. Parents of youth with visual impairments (N = 92; mothers = 69.5%, fathers = 18.1%; M age = 42.91 years, SD = 8.08 years) completed the modified parents’ perception questionnaire. Youth with visual impairments ages 9–19 years (N = 95; M age = 153.35 months, SD = 27.58 months, girls = 37.1%, boys = 53.3%, 9.6% missing) completed the Test of Gross Motor Development-third edition. Results from a backward linear regression convey parental beliefs (i.e., growth mindsets) and support variables (e.g., providing transportation) significantly predicted their child’s actual motor competence, F(6, 84) = 9.77, p < .001, adj. R 2 = .37. Results could inform parents on their importance toward supporting and believing in developing their child’s motor competence.