Journal Article

Influences of grasp selection in typically developing children


When reaching towards an object, adults favour grasps which, following the intended action, end in a comfortable position even when this requires them to start in an uncomfortable position (the end-state-comfort effect). However, this strategy is not consistently used by children who instead seem to favour a minimal pre-contact rotation of the hand, even when this results in an uncomfortable end position. In terms of multiple movements, the strategies used for grip selection are unclear; adults may still grasp for end-state-comfort given their propensity to plan to the end of a movement; however, children who are less able to concatenate movement may tend to start-state-comfort movements. The current study considered grip selection in children ranging from 4 to 12 years and in a group of adults. Participants were asked to rotate a disc so that an arrow pointed towards a specific target(s), the number of sequences in a movement was increased from one to three. Planning for end-state-comfort was seen in all participants and a clear developmental trajectory was identified whereby the relative comfort of an end position could be directly predicted by age in months. Adults and 10–12-year-olds favoured an end-state-comfort strategy whereas the younger children gave equal weighting to end-state-comfort, start-state-comfort and no initial rotation strategies. All groups were able to end a movement comfortably when it was composed of three steps; however, the proportion of movements relying on an end-state-comfort strategy decreased as sequence length increase whereas the proportion of start-state-comfort and no initial rotation strategies increased. The current data support the concept that a mechanism for planning grasps may be based on motor experience.

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Wilmut, K
Byrne, M

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences\Department of Psychology, Social Work and Public Health


Year of publication: 2014
Date of RADAR deposit: 2016-03-17

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