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Motor, Sensory, and Perceptual Development. Motor Development Sensory and Perceptual Development Perceptual-Motor Coupling. Motor Development. Dynamic Systems View. Seeks to explain how motor behaviors are assembled for perceiving and acting.

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motor sensory and perceptual development

Motor, Sensory, and Perceptual Development

Motor Development

Sensory and Perceptual Development

Perceptual-Motor Coupling

dynamic systems view

Motor Development

Dynamic Systems View
  • Seeks to explain how motor behaviors are assembled for perceiving and acting.
  • Motivation leads to new motor behavior; a convergence of:
    • Nervous system development
    • Body’s physical properties
    • Child’s motivation to reach goal
    • Environmental support for the skill

Motor Development

  • Built-in reactions to stimuli:
    • Govern newborn’s movements
    • Genetically carried survival mechanisms
    • Allow adaptation to environment
    • Provides opportunity to learn
    • Some disappear (e.g.: grasping),

some last throughout life

(e.g.: coughing)


Sucking reflex

Automatic sucking object placed in newborn’s mouth

Rooting reflex

Reaction when infant’s cheek is

stroked or side of mouth touched

Startle response in reaction to

sudden, intense noise or movement

Moro reflex

Occurs when something touches

infant’s palms; infant response is to grasp tightly

Grasping reflex

Motor Development

gross motor skills

Motor Development

Gross Motor Skills
  • Motor skills that involve large-muscle activities (milestones achieved)
    • Infancy
      • Development of posture
      • Locomotion and crawling
      • Learning to walk
      • Help of caregivers important; cultural variation exists
      • More skilled and mobile in second year

Motor Development

Milestones in Gross Motor Development

gross motor skills7

Motor Development

Gross Motor Skills
  • Childhood
    • Improved walking, running, jumping,

climbing, learn organized sports’ skills

    • Positive and negative sport outcomes
    • Movement smoother with age
  • Adolescence - Skills continue to improve
  • Adulthood
    • Peak performance of most sports before 30
    • Biological functions decline with age
guidelines for parents and coaches of children in sports

The Dos

  • make sports fun
  • mistakes are okay
  • Allow questions, show calm manner
  • Respect child’s participation
  • Be positive role model
  • Be supportive
  • The Don’ts
  • Yell or scream at child
  • Continue condemning
  • Point out errors in front of others
  • Expect instant learning
  • Expect child to be pro
  • Make fun of child
  • Compare child to other
  • Make sports all work

Motor Development

Guidelines for Parents and Coaches of Children in Sports

Motor Development

Movement and Aging

fine motor skills

Motor Development

Fine Motor Skills
  • Involves more finely tuned movements, such as finger dexterity.
    • Infancy: Reaching and grasping
      • Size and shape of object matters
      • Experience affects perceptions and vision
    • Early Childhood: Pick up small objects
      • Some difficulty building towers
      • Age 5: hand, arm, fingers move together
fine motor skills11

Motor Development

Fine Motor Skills
  • Childhood and adolescence:
    • Writing and drawing skills emerge, improve
    • Steadier at age 7; more precise movements
    • By 10-12, can do quality crafts, master difficult

piece on musical instrument

  • Adulthood:
    • Speed may decline in middle and late adulthood, but most use compensation strategies
    • Older adults can still learn new motor tasks

Motor Development

  • Genetic inheritance proposed, unproven
  • Preference of using one hand over other
  • Right-handedness dominant in all cultures
  • Right hand preference in thumb-sucking begins in the womb
    • Head-turning preference in newborns
    • Preference later leads to handedness
handedness the brain and cognitive abilities

Motor Development

Handedness, the Brain, and Cognitive Abilities
  • 95% of right-handed primarily process speech in left hemisphere.
  • Left handed:
    • Are more likely to have reading problems
    • Show more variation
    • Have better spatial skills
    • More common among mathematicians,

musicians, artists, and architects

what are sensation and perception

Sensory and Perceptual Development

What Are Sensation and Perception?
  • Sensation:
    • Occurs when information contacts sensory receptors.
  • Perception:
    • Interpretation of sensation.
the ecological view

Sensory and Perceptual Development

The Ecological View
  • People directly perceive information in the world around them:
    • Perception brings people in contact with the environment to interact with it and adapt to it
    • All objects have affordances; opportunities

for interaction offered by objects necessary

to perform activities

studying infant perception

Sensory and Perceptual Development

Studying Infant Perception
  • Visual preference method: To determine if infants can distinguish between various stimuli.
  • Habituation and Dishabituation:
    • Habituation—decreased responsiveness to stimulus
    • Dishabituation—recovery of habituated response
  • Tracking —moving eyes and/or head to follow moving objects
  • Videotape equipment, high-speed computers
infants visual perception

20/600 at birth, near adult levels by 1 year

Visual Acuity

Sees some colors by 2 months, has preferences by 4 months


Prefer patterns at birth; face scanning improves by 2 months

Perceiving Patterns

Depth Perception

Developed by 7-8 months

Begins by 4 months; all know visual cliff by 6-to-12 months

Visual Expectations

Sensory and Perceptual Development

Infants’ Visual Perception
vision in childhood

Sensory and Perceptual Development

Vision in Childhood
  • Improved color detection, visual expectations, controlling eye movements (for reading).
  • Preschoolers may be farsighted.
  • Signs of vision problems:
    • Rubbing eyes, blinking, squinting.
    • Irritability at games requiring distance vision.
    • Closing one eye, tilting head to see, thrusting

head forward to see.

aging vision in adulthood

Sensory and Perceptual Development

Aging Vision In Adulthood
  • Loss of Accommodation —presbyopia
  • Decreased blood supply to eye — smaller visual field, increased blind spot
  • Slower dark adaptation, decline in motion sensitivity
  • Declining color vision: greens, blues, vi
  • Declining depth perception — problems with steps or curbs
diseases of the eye

Sensory and Perceptual Development

Diseases of the Eye
  • Cataracts— thickening eye lens that causes vision to become cloudy, opaque, distorted
  • Glaucoma— damage to optic nerve because of pressure created by buildup of fluid in eye
  • Macular degeneration— involves deterioration of retina

Sensory and Perceptual Development

  • Fetus hears in last 2 months of pregnancy
  • Newborns
    • cannot hear soft sounds well
    • display auditory preferences
    • sensitive to human speech
  • Infants less sensitive to sound pitch
  • Most children’s hearing is inadequate
    • OtitisMedia: middle ear infection

Sensory and Perceptual Development

  • Adolescence
    • Most have excellent hearing; loud sounds poses risks
  • Adulthood
    • Decline begins about age 40
    • Males lose sensitivity to high-pitched sounds
    • sooner than females
    • Gender differences may be due to occupation
    • Treatment includes hearing aids
other senses



Older Adults

Newborns feel pain; by 6 mos., can coordinate vision and touch

Less sensitive to pain and touch in lower extremities

Touch and Pain

Can differentiate odors at birth; shows some preferences

Loss of some sense of smell around age 60


May prefer sweet tastes before birth; likes salty at 4 months

Decline in taste of begins in 60s


Sensory and Perceptual Development

Other Senses