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Learning: Kick Kids Rationally – Spectrum of Science

To date, relatively little is known about how newborns learn to control their movements. “Previous research on sensorimotor development has focused on motor characteristics,” the researcher explains. In other words, muscle activity that moves a joint or body part. On the other hand, he adds, his team’s study looks at muscle activity and sensory perception throughout the body.

It has been shown that infants do not simply execute movement patterns multiple times, but rather “wander” between different sensory states—that is, groups of movement and perception—the WG reports. This was not expected because it is generally assumed that learning involves repetition of sensory interactions. However, the study notes that babies learn the movements through “exploratory” movements according to their own system, according to the press release.

“They repeat not just one action, but a whole group of similar actions,” Kanazawa explains. In addition, the experts identify links between spontaneous fluctuations in the musculoskeletal system and those in the brain and spinal cord: “Our result provides a conceptual link between early spontaneous movements and spontaneous neuronal activity.” The results indicate that these undirected movements play an important role in learning to move. They regulate the interaction between body perception and muscles at this early stage of development. Through these sensory feedbacks, they contribute to coordinated movements later on.