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Development of functional asymmetries in young infants: A sensory-motor approach
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Human functional laterality, typically involving a right-sided preference in most sensory-motor activities, is still a poorly understood issue. This is perhaps particularly true in terms of what underlying mechanisms that may govern lateral biases, as well as the developmental origins and course of events. The present thesis aims at investigating functional asymmetries in the upper and lower body movements of young human infants. In Study I, the presence of side biases in the stepping and placing responses and head turning in healthy fullterm newborns were explored. No evident lateral bias for the leg responses in terms of the first foot moved or direction of head turning was found. However, a lateral bias was revealed for onset latency in relation to the first foot moved in both stepping and placing. Asymmetries in head turning did not correspond to asymmetries in leg movements. In Study II, functional asymmetries in the stepping response of newborn infants were investigated in more detail by means of 3-D kinematic movement registration. Evident side differences were found in relation to smoother movement trajectories of the right leg by means of less movement segmentation compared to the left leg. Side differences were also found in relation to intralimb coordination in terms of stronger ankle-knee couplings and smaller phase shifts in the right leg than the left. In Study III, using the same movement registration technique, the kinematics of left and right arm movements during goal-directed reaching in infants were prospectively studied over the ages 6, 9, 12, and 36 months. Main findings included side differences and developmental trends related to the segmentation of the reaching movements and the reaching trajectory, as well as the distribution of arm-hand-use frequency. The results from Study I and II are discussed in relation to underlying neural mechanisms for lateral biases in leg movements and the important role of a thorough methodology in investigating newborn responses. Findings from Study III are discussed in terms of what they imply about the developmental origins for hand preference. An emphasis is also put on developmental differences between fullterm and preterm infants. Overall, the studies of the present thesis show that an increased understanding of subtle expressions of early functional asymmetries in the upper and lower body movements of young infants may be gained by means of refined measurements. Furthermore, such knowledge may provide an insight into the underlying neural mechanisms subserving asymmetries in the movements of young infants. The present studies also add new information to the current understanding of the development of human lateralized functions, in particular the findings derived from the longitudinal data. Apart from theoretical implications, the present thesis also involves a discussion with regard to the clinical relevance of investigating functional asymmetries in the movements of young infants.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: institutionen för psykologi, Umeå universitet , 2006. , 172 p.
Keyword [en]
Laterality, development, handedness, human infant, stepping response, placing response, head turning, arm movement, reaching, kinematic parameters, intralimb coordination
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-751ISBN: 91-7264-066-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-751DiVA: diva2:144424
Distributor:
Institutionen för psykologi, 90187, Umeå
Public defence
2006-05-12, Hörsal E, Humanisthuset, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2006-04-12 Created: 2006-04-12 Last updated: 2017-02-01Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Upper and lower body functional asymmetries in the newborn: do they have the same lateral biases?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Upper and lower body functional asymmetries in the newborn: do they have the same lateral biases?
2005 (English)In: Developmental Psychobiology, ISSN 0012-1630, E-ISSN 1098-2302, Vol. 46, no 2, 133-140 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

It is still an open question as to whether functional asymmetries in the human newborn derive from a single lateralized system or multiple subsystems based on different neural mechanisms. In the present study, asymmetries in head turning were compared to those in leg movements during stepping and placing, with the latter also being related to differences in leg mass. The effects of an active versus an inactive state or condition were examined for all three behaviors. No overall lateral biases were found for head turning or for the first foot to move in stepping and placing, and there were no concordances among them; however, there was an asymmetry in that the left foot had a shorter onset latency when compared to the right foot for both stepping and placing. Findings are discussed in terms of what they imply about underlying neural systems that have a bearing on expressions of newborn laterality, and also with regard to the impact of methodological differences in this area of study.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York: Wiley, 2005
Keyword
human newborn, laterality, stepping response, placing response, head turning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-5061 (URN)10.1002/dev.20046 (DOI)
Available from: 2006-04-12 Created: 2006-04-12 Last updated: 2011-05-17Bibliographically approved
2. Functional asymmetries in the stepping response of the human newborn: a kinematic approach
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Functional asymmetries in the stepping response of the human newborn: a kinematic approach
2007 (English)In: Experimental Brain Research, ISSN 0014-4819, E-ISSN 1432-1106, Vol. 177, no 3, 324-335 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In order to investigate subtle expressions of functional asymmetries in newborn leg movements, kinematic registrations were made on a sample of 40 healthy fullterm newborn infants during performance of the stepping response. Time–position data were collected from markers attached to the hip, knee and ankle joints of the left and right leg, and movements of both legs recorded simultaneously. Findings included evident side differences in terms of smoother trajectories of the right leg as a consequence of less movement segmentation compared to the left leg. Additionally, analyses of intralimb coordination revealed side differences with regard to stronger ankle–knee couplings and smaller phase shifts in the right leg. The findings suggest that asymmetries in newborn stepping responses are present in terms of spatio-temporal parameters and intralimb coordination. No evidence of a lateral preference in terms of frequency of the first foot moved was found. The present study adds new understanding to the lateralized attributes of the stepping response in the human newborn and as such points to new directions of research on the nature of laterality in the future.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Berlin/Heidelberg, 2007
Keyword
Laterality, Newborn infant, Stepping response, Kinematic parameters, Intralimb coordination
National Category
Neurology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-5062 (URN)10.1007/s00221-006-0675-4 (DOI)
Available from: 2006-04-12 Created: 2006-04-12 Last updated: 2012-05-16Bibliographically approved
3. Quantitative assessment of right and left reaching movements in infants: a longitudinal study from 6 to 36 months
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Quantitative assessment of right and left reaching movements in infants: a longitudinal study from 6 to 36 months
2006 (English)In: Developmental Psychobiology, ISSN 0012-1630, E-ISSN 1098-2302, Vol. 48, no 6, 444-459 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This longitudinal study aimed to explore the early presence and developmental pattern of laterality in reaching kinematics and its relationship to side use. In order to do so, 3-D kinematic measurements as well as 2-D video recordings of right-left reaching movements were successively carried out for 17 infants at the ages of 6, 9, 12, and 36 months. Additional investigations of hand preference were made at 36 months. As four infants were prematurely born, their outcomes were compared to those of the fullterm participants. While most of the infants in the early ages showed a rather inconsistent preference in terms of frequency and distributions of right-left side use, the analyses of reaching kinematics revealed a more consistent pattern of fewer movements units (MUs) and straighter right-sided reaching for the majority of infants at all tested ages. However, reaching kinematics from the preterm infants were generally more variable and less side consistent. It is proposed that the development of human handedness originates from an early right arm rather than hand preference in that representations of asymmetry in bilateral projections (involved in arm movements) developmentally precede contralateral projections (involved in refined hand/finger movements).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 2006
Keyword
laterality, handedness, arm preference, kinematics, infants, motor development, reaching, preterm
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-60022 (URN)10.1002/dev.20160 (DOI)000240076900005 ()
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2012-09-27 Created: 2012-09-27 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved

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Domellöf, Erik

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