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Kinaesthetic judgements and refinement of striking action

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 August 2000

Andrew B Roberts
Affiliation:
School of Psychology, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland.
Mark Mon-Williams
Affiliation:
School of Psychology, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland.
James R Tresilian
Affiliation:
School of Psychology, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland.
Robin Burgess-Limerick
Affiliation:
School of Psychology, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland.
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Abstract

Little is known about the developmental course of striking action. This cross-sectional study explored the refinement of striking in 28 children aged between 4 and 12 years and investigated how well they could use kinaesthesis to gauge the length of an unseen bat. The kinematic data (including smoothness of movement) showed quantitative differences between the age groups. In contrast, no differences were found in the children's ability to judge the length of the unseen bat: within three strikes all of the children had made a clean hit, indicating that they had successfully judged bat length. The children then appeared to memorize the bat with which they had accurately hit the target and made: (1) minimal errors when using this bat in later trials and (2) predictable errors when using two other bats of different sizes. The results show that the striking action becomes optimized over childhood, with smoothness of movement providing an index of this refinement. The findings also suggest that young children have a higher level of kinaesthetic sensitivity than has been assumed previously on the basis of static limb positioning tasks. The results suggest that the striking task used in this study might be a useful tool for investigating the development of movement skills in children with developmental disorders.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
© 2000 Mac Keith Press

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