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Influences of grasp selection in typically developing children.

  • Wilmut, Kate1
  • Byrne, Maia2
  • 1 Faculty of Health Life Sciences, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford OX3 0BP, United Kingdom. Electronic address: [email protected] , (United Kingdom)
  • 2 Faculty of Health Life Sciences, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford OX3 0BP, United Kingdom. , (United Kingdom)
Published Article
Acta psychologica
Publication Date
May 01, 2014
DOI: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2014.02.005
PMID: 24594384


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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