alexa Role of motor imitation in traversability of surfaces by walking infants.


Journal of Child and Adolescent Behavior

Author(s): Toselli M, Farneti P, Grossi E

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Abstract The ecological approach by Gibson stressed the role of visual cues in toddlers' locomotor activities. In particular, a rigid surface offers more traversability "affordances" to walkers (13-16 mo. old) than a deformable surface. On the other hand, imitation plays a relevant role in human behaviors. In our study a group of 17 walking infants (12-19 mo.) were asked to choose between locomoting on a rigid versus a deformable surface after having seen an older child walking on the deformable surface. A control group of 19 infants were asked to do the same task without having seen a model. The task was repeated three times. No relevant differences appeared between the two groups as to the choice of surfaces: the rigid surface was preferred by both groups. Some slight differences in the behavior of the experimental group were seen as a result of observing the model. Clearly, however, social stimulus. such as the sight of an older child performing a specific task, does not overcome the affordances which induce infants not to walk on the deformable surface. This article was published in Percept Mot Skills and referenced in Journal of Child and Adolescent Behavior

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