Adaptive Visual Re-Weighting in Children's Postural Control
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This study investigated how children's postural control adapts to changes in the visual environment and whether they use previous experience to adjust postural responses to following expositions. Four-, eight-, and twelve-year-old children (10 in each group) and 10 young adults stood upright inside of a moving room during eight trials each lasting one-minute. In the first trial, the room was stationary. In the following seven trials, the room oscillated at 0.2 Hz, amplitude of 0.5 cm, with the exception of the fifth trial, in which the room oscillated with amplitude of 3.2 cm. Body sway responses of young adults and older children down-weighted more to the increased visual stimulus amplitude when compared to younger children. In addition, four- and eight-year-old children quickly up-weighted body responses to visual stimulus in the subsequent two trials after the high amplitude trial. Sway variability decreased with age and was greatest during the high-amplitude trial. These results indicate that four year olds have already developed the adaptive capability to quickly down-weight visual influences. However, the increased gain values and residual variability observed for the younger children suggest that they have not fully calibrated their adaptive response to that of the young adults tested. Moreover, younger children do not carry over their previous experience from the sensorial environment to adapt to future changes.