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Moeko Ueno, Ichiro Uchiyama, Joseph J. Campos, David I. Anderson, Minxuan He and Audun Dahl

Infants show a dramatic shift in postural and emotional responsiveness to peripheral lamellar optic flow (PLOF) following crawling onset. The present study used a novel virtual moving room to assess postural compensation of the shoulders backward and upward and heart rate acceleration to PLOF specifying a sudden horizontal forward translation and a sudden descent down a steep slope in an infinitely long virtual tunnel. No motion control conditions were also included. Participants were 53 8.5-month-old infants: 25 prelocomotors and 28 hands-and-knees crawlers. The primary findings were that crawling infants showed directionally appropriate postural compensation in the two tunnel motion conditions, whereas prelocomotor infants were minimally responsive in both conditions. Similarly, prelocomotor infants showed nonsignificant changes in heart rate acceleration in the tunnel motion conditions, whereas crawling infants showed significantly higher heart rate acceleration in the descent condition than in the descent control condition, and in the descent condition than in the horizontal translation condition. These findings highlight the important role played by locomotor experience in the development of the visual control of posture and in emotional reactions to a sudden optically specified drop. The virtual moving room is a promising paradigm for exploring the development of perception–action coupling.

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Gisela Kobberling, Louis W. Jankowski and Luc Leger

The oxygen consumption (VO2) of 30 (10 females, 20 males) legally blind adolescents and their sighted controls were compared for treadmill walking (3 mph, 4.8 km/h) and running (6 mph, 9.6 km/h). The VO2 of the visually impaired subjects averaged 24.4% and 10.8% higher than those of their same-sex age-matched controls, and 42.8% and 11.2% higher than the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) norms for walking (p<.01) and running (p<.05), respectively. The normal association between aerobic capacity and locomotor energy costs was evident among the sighted controls (r= .44, p<.05) but insignificant (r=.35, p>.05) for the visually impaired subjects. The energy costs of both walking and running were highest among the totally blind subjects, and decreased toward normal as a function of residual vision among the legally blind subjects. The energy costs of walking and running for blind adolescents are higher than both those of sighted controls and the ACSM norm values.

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Roberta L. Pohlman and Larry D. Isaacs

This preliminary investigation examined the potential effects of low birth weight on motor performance in children. Seventeen pairs of children were matched by age and placed in one of five age groups (5-9 years). One of each pair weighed 2,200 grams or less at birth (low birth weight, LBW) and the other weighed more than 2,200 grams at birth (normal birth weight, NBW). Three types of data were collected: motor development data, reaction time data, and anthropometric data. Nine paired t tests were performed. To control for alpha level inflation, the Bonferroni technique was employed. The two groups did not differ significantly in present body weight. Tests of gross motor development found the NBW group to be more advanced in both locomotor skills and object control skills. With regard to triceps skinfold, again the NBW group was found to have greater values. No other between-group measurements of body composition were significant. In addition, girls were significantly higher than boys in percent body fat. These preliminary results suggest the LBW children lag behind their NBW peers in the development of the basic fundamental motor skills.

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Emily Cole, Terry M. Wood and John M. Dunn

Tests constructed using item response theory (IRT) produce invariant item and test parameters, making it possible to construct tests and test items useful over many populations. This paper heuristically and empirically compares the utility of classical test theory (CTT) and IRT using psychomotor skill data. Data from the Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD) (Ulrich, 1985) were used to assess the feasibility of fitting existing IRT models to dichotomously scored psychomotor skill data. As expected, CTT and IRT analyses yielded parallel interpretations of item and subtest difficulty and discrimination. However, IRT provided significant additional analysis of the error associated with estimating examinee ability. The IRT two-parameter logistic model provided a superior model fit to the one-parameter logistic model. Although both TGMD subtests estimated ability for examinees of low to average ability, the object control subtest estimated examinee ability more precisely at higher difficulty levels than the locomotor subtest. The results suggest that IRT is particularly well suited to construct tests that can meet the challenging measurement demands of adapted physical education.

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Amelia Mays Woods, Kim Graber and David Daum

The benefits of recess can be reaped by all students regardless of socioeconomic status, race, or gender and at relatively little cost. The purpose of this study was to examine physical activity (PA) variables related to the recess PA patterns of third and fourth grade children and the social preferences and individuals influencing their PA (friends and parents). Data were collected on students (N = 115) utilizing the System of Observing Children’s Activity and Relationships during Play (SOCARP) instrument. In addition, each child was interviewed during the recess period in which SOCARP was completed. Results found that boys spent significantly more time being very active (t (95.64) = 3.252, d = .62, p < .008) than girls and preferred sport activities (t = (73.62) 5.64, d = 1.14, p < .0125) in large groups (t (69.34) = 4.036, d = .83, p < .0125). Meanwhile, girls preferred locomotor activities (t (113) = 3.19, d = .60, p < .0125), sedentary activities (t (113) = 2.829, d = .53, p < .0125) and smaller groups (t (112.63) = 4.259, d = .79, p < .0125). All 115 participants indicated that they wanted to spend time with their friends during recess.

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Jebb G. Remelius, Joseph Hamill, Jane Kent-Braun and Richard E.A. Van Emmerik

Individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) often have poor balance control that is especially apparent during dynamic tasks such as gait initiation (GI). The purpose of this study was to investigate how balance symptoms due to MS alter spatiotemporal variables, coordination, and temporal margins within the stability boundary during gait initiation. Twelve women with MS (Expanded Disability Status Scale [EDSS] mean = 4.0, SD = 1.4) and 12 women without MS (control group) initiated gait at their preferred speed. MS participants attained a slower anterior velocity because of smaller anterior center of mass displacements and took longer to complete the initiation of gait than the control group. MS participants exhibited a smaller posterior shift in center of pressure during GI and stepped with a longer dual support time than the control group. However, these changes may be due to differences in initiation velocity. Relative timing analysis showed invariance in postural and locomotor phases of gait initiation between groups. The MS group showed different coordination between anterior-posterior and medio-lateral center of pressure components while increasing temporal margins to the posterior and lateral stability boundaries in comparison with the control group. Overall, during gait initiation at their preferred speed the MS participants adopted a functional strategy that produces lower speed and reduced proximity to the stability boundaries prior to stepping.

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David I. Anderson, Audun Dahl, Joseph J. Campos, Kiren Chand, Minxuan He and Ichiro Uchiyama

This report describes a novel test of the prediction that locomotion-induced changes in an infant’s functional utilization of peripheral lamellar optic flow (PLOF) for postural stability contributes to avoidance of the deep side of a visual cliff. To test the prediction, a corridor, with either low-textured or high-textured walls, was constructed to run the length of a visual cliff. The infants, 9.5-month-olds with varying amounts of hands-and-knees crawling experience, were randomly assigned to the low-texture (n = 30) or the high-texture condition (n = 32). Consistent with predictions, the findings revealed significant interactions between crawling experience and texture condition for the probability of crossing and the latency to venture onto the deep side of the cliff. Most notably, more experienced crawlers, but not less experienced crawlers, were significantly more likely to cross the visual cliff to the parents and ventured onto the cliff faster in the high-texture condition than in the low-texture condition. The availability of PLOF thus had an effect on infants’ crossing behavior on the visual cliff. We interpret these findings as evidence for a three-step process in which locomotor-induced changes in visual proprioception play a central role in the development of wariness of heights.

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Joseph F. Seay, Jeffery M. Haddad, Richard E.A. van Emmerik and Joseph Hamill

Increases in movement variability have previously been observed to be a hallmark property of cooraination changes between coupled oscillators that occur as movement frequency is scaled. Prior research on the walk-run transition in human locomotion has also demonstrated increases in variability around the transition region, supporting predictions of nonequilibrium phase transitions (Diedrich & Warren, 1995). The current study examined the coordinative patterns of both intra- and inter-limb couplings around the walk-run transition using two different temporal manipulations of locomotor velocity as a control parameter in healthy young participants (N = 11). Coordination variability did not increase before the transition. The nature of the change in continuous relative phase variability between gait modes was coupling-specific, and varying the time spent at each velocity did not have an overall effect on gait transition dynamics. Lower extremity inter-limb coordination dynamics were more sensitive to changes in treadmill velocity than intra-limb coordination. The results demonstrate the complexity of segmental coordination change in human locomotion, and question the applicability of dynamical bimanual coordination models to human gait transitions.

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Viviene A. Temple and John T. Foley

The development of motor skill proficiency during childhood is cumulative and influenced by physical growth and maturation, genetic potential, affordances in the physical and social environment, and the interactions between these factors. Therefore, typically during childhood, the trajectory of change in motor proficiency is positive. To lend developmental validity to the revision of the Test of Gross Motor Development—3rd edition (TGMD-3), this longitudinal study examined whether the skills and subtests of the TGMD-3 changed as might be expected from grade 3 to grade 4 among 277 children. The findings of this study lend support to the developmental validity of the TGMD-3 in that (1) there was within-individual change in the expected direction for both locomotor and ball skills, (2) consistent with the majority of research, boys had significantly higher ball skills scores than girls in both grade 3 and grade 4, and (3) the mean percent of maximum possible scores were in the range of approximately 60–75, which demonstrates that the majority of 8- and 9-year-old children had not reached a ceiling on this test.

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Kara K. Palmer and Ali Brian

Background.

The Test of Gross Motor Development, 2nd edition (TGMD-2), is one of the most widely used measures of motor skill competence. The purpose of this study was to examine if differences in scores exist between expert and novice coders on the TGMD-2 (Ulrich, 2000).

Methods.

Three coders, one expert and two novices, reviewed and scored young children’s (N = 43; Boys = 57%; Mage = 4.88, SD = 0.28) TGMD-2 data. The kappa statistic was used to determine agreement between expert and novice coders on the locomotor and object control subscale of the TGMD-2. Independent samples t tests and percent differences were then used to examine scoring differences for each of the twelve skills.

Results.

Results support that expert and novice coders do not demonstrate significant agreement when scoring the TGMD-2 except for when scoring the kick (t 41 = –1.3, p = .2) and the gallop (t 41= –1.7, p = .09).

Conclusion.

This work demonstrates that more stringent or consistent training regimens are needed before allowing novices to code TGMD-2 data.