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Visual and somatosensory contributions to infant sitting postural control

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There are a limited number of studies that have investigated sitting posture during infancy and the contribution of the sensory systems. The goal of this study was to examine the effects of altered visual and somatosensory signals on infant sitting postural control. Thirteen infants (mean age ± SD, 259.69 ± 16.88 days) participated in the study. Initially, a single physical therapist performed the Peabody Developmental Motor Scale to determine typical motor development. Then the child was placed onto a force platform under four randomized conditions: (a) Control (C) – sat independently on the force plate, (b) Somatosensory (SS) – Sat independently on a foam pad (low density), (c) Visual (VS) – sat independently on the force plate while the lights were turned off creating dim lighting, and (d) Combination of b and c (NVSS). Center of pressure (COP) data from both the anterior-posterior (AP) and the medial-lateral (ML) directions were acquired through the Vicon software at 240 Hz. The lights off conditions, both VS and NVSS, lead to increased Root Mean Square (RMS) and Range values in the AP direction, as well as increased Lyapunov Exponent (LyE) values in the ML direction. Altered visual information lead to greater disturbances of sitting postural control in typically developing infants than altered somatosensory information. The lights off conditions (VS and NVSS), unveiled different control mechanisms for AP and ML direction during sitting. Thus, the present findings confirm the dominance of vision during the early acquisition of a new postural accomplishment.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Somatosensory & Motor Research on December 28, 2018, available online:

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Somatosensory & Motor Research





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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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