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A developmental perspective on visual proprioception

(from the chapter) Control over posture is a major factor in the young child's behavioral and psychological development because maintaining a stable relation with the environment is critical to learning about the world and one's place in it. Vision's role in postural control has attracted far more attention than the roles of the other perceptual systems. Some compelling questions can be asked about vision's role in the development of postural control and, concomitantly, about the role of postural control and other actions on the development of vision and visual-postural coupling. We will provide answers to these questions in the subsequent sections, though our focus will be on the factors that contribute to the emergence and subsequent recalibration of visual-postural coupling. Specifically, we stress the reciprocity between perception and action and highlight the importance of experience in markedly changing and then fine-tuning the coupling between vision and postural control. The significance of self-produced locomotor experience for revealing (and facilitating the use of) increasingly specific patterns of visual information for postural control is a central tenet of this chapter. Our aim is to organize prior work on the development of visual-postural coupling into a coherent set of findings to set the stage for the next round of research and theorizing on this important issue. Given the centrality of postural control in all behavioral development (Reed, 1989) and the insights that research on visual-postural coupling can provide on the growth of perception-action coupling, not to mention the clinical implications of this type of work (e.g., Paulus, Straube, & Brandt, 1984, 1987; Wade & Jones, 1997; Wann, Mon-Williams, & Rushton, 1998), our aim is very timely. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2005 APA, all rights reserved)