14/05/2014 Medicine Psychology
DOI: 10.1007/s00221-014-3947-4 SemanticScholar ID: 16245949 MAG: 2055791475

The relationship between a child’s postural stability and manual dexterity

Publication Summary

The neural systems responsible for postural control are separate from the neural substrates that underpin control of the hand. Nonetheless, postural control and eye-hand coordination are linked functionally. For example, a stable platform is required for precise manual control tasks (e.g. handwriting) and thus such skills often cannot develop until the child is able to sit or stand upright. This raises the question of the strength of the empirical relationship between measures of postural stability and manual motor control. We recorded objective computerised measures of postural stability in stance and manual control in sitting in a sample of school children (n = 278) aged 3–11 years in order to explore the extent to which measures of manual skill could be predicted by measures of postural stability. A strong correlation was found across the whole sample between separate measures of postural stability and manual control taken on different days. Following correction for age, a significant but modest correlation was found. Regression analysis with age correction revealed that postural stability accounted for between 1 and 10 % of the variance in manual performance, dependent on the specific manual task. These data reflect an interdependent functional relationship between manual control and postural stability development. Nevertheless, the relatively small proportion of the explained variance is consistent with the anatomically distinct neural architecture that exists for ‘gross’ and ‘fine’ motor control. These data justify the approach of motor batteries that provide separate assessments of postural stability and manual dexterity and have implications for therapeutic intervention in developmental disorders.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Faisal Mushtaq

Dr. Faisal Mushtaq

University of Leeds - Associate Professor in Cognitive Neuroscience

Avatar Image for Liam Hill

Dr. Liam Hill

University of Leeds - Lecturer in Developmental Psychology

Avatar Image for Mark Mon-Williams

Prof. Mark Mon-Williams

University of Leeds - Chair in Cognitive Psychology

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