The influence of dynamic visual cues for postural control in children aged 7–12 years
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- Sparto, P.J., Redfern, M.S., Jasko, J.G. et al. Exp Brain Res (2006) 168: 505. doi:10.1007/s00221-005-0109-8
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Young children rely heavily on vision for postural control during the transition to walking. Although by 10 years of age, children have automatic postural responses similar to adults, it is not clear when the integration of sensory inputs becomes fully developed. The purpose of this study was to examine this transition in the sensory integration process in children aged 7–12 years. Healthy children and adults stood on a fixed or sway-referenced support surface while viewing full-field optic flow scenes that moved sinusoidally (0.1 and 0.25 Hz) in an anterior–posterior direction. Center of pressure was recorded, and measures of sway amplitude and phase were calculated at each stimulus frequency. Children and adults had significant postural responses during approximately two-thirds of the trials. In adults, there was a 90% decrease in sway on the fixed surface compared with the sway-referenced surface, but only a 50% decrease in children. The phase between the optic flow stimulus and postural response in children led that of adults by 52° at 0.1 Hz and by 15° at 0.25 Hz. Adults and children aged 7–12 years have similar ability to use dynamic visual cues for postural control. However, 7–12-year-old children do not utilize somatosensory cues to stabilize posture to the same extent as adults when visual and somatosensory cues are conflicting.