The end-state comfort (ESC) effect signifies the tendency to avoid uncomfortable postures at the end of goal-directed movements and can be reliably observed during object manipulation in adults, but only little is known about its development in children. The aim of the present paper is to provide a review of research on the ESC effect in normally developing children and in children with various developmental disorders, and to identify the factors constraining anticipatory planning skills. Three databases (Medline, Scopus, and PubMed) and relevant journals were scrutinized and a step-wise analysis procedure was employed to identify the relevant studies. Thirteen studies assessed the ESC effect in children, ranging from 1.5–14 years of age. Nine out of these thirteen studies reported the ESC effect to be present in normally developing children, but the results are inconsistent with regard to children’s age and the kind of ESC task used. Some evidence even suggests that these planning skills are intact in children with developmental disorders. Inconsistencies between findings are discussed in the light of moderating factors like the number of action steps, precision requirements, familiarity with the task, the task procedure, motivation, sample size, and age, as well as the cognitive and motor development of the participants. Further research is needed to investigate the onset and the developmental course of ESC planning, as well as the interdependencies with other cognitive abilities and sensory-motor skills.
Kathrin Wunsch, Anne Henning, Gisa Aschersleben and Matthias Weigelt
Loes Janssen, Céline Crajé, Matthias Weigelt and Bert Steenbergen
We examined anticipatory motor planning and the interaction among both hands in a discrete bimanual task. To this end, participants had to grasp and manipulate two cylindrical objects simultaneously under varying conditions in which (a) the grip selection requirements, i.e., orientation of the to-be-grasped objects, differed between the two hands and (b) the type of grip for one hand was preinstructed, while the grip for the other hand was free choice. Results showed that participants, when grasping for two bars with a free grip choice, prioritized planning for comfortable end postures over symmetry of movement execution. Furthermore, when participants were free to choose a grip for their left hand, but were instructed on how to grasp an object with their right hand, we found no interaction between the grip selections of both hands, suggesting that motor planning proceeds independently for both hands.
Christoph Schütz, Matthias Weigelt, Dennis Odekerken, Timo Klein-Soetebier and Thomas Schack
Previous studies on sequential effects of human grasping behavior were restricted to binary grasp type selection. We asked whether two established motor control strategies, the end-state comfort effect and the hysteresis effect, would hold for sequential motor tasks with continuous solutions. To this end, participants were tested in a sequential (predictable) and a randomized (nonpredictable) perceptual-motor task, which offered a continuous range of posture solutions for each movement trial. Both the end-state comfort effect and the hysteresis effect were reproduced under predictable, continuous conditions, but only the end-state comfort effect was present under nonpredictable conditions. Experimental results further revealed a work range restriction effect, which was reproduced for the dominant and the nondominant hand.