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date: 10 December 2022

Motor Development: Biological Aspects of Brain and Behaviorlocked

Motor Development: Biological Aspects of Brain and Behaviorlocked

  • Audrey van der MeerAudrey van der MeerNorwegian University of Science and Technology
  •  and F. R. (Ruud) van der WeelF. R. (Ruud) van der WeelNorwegian University of Science and Technology


Developmental psychology has a long history of linking motor development to enhancement in perceptual and cognitive abilities. Because of the haphazard appearance of the very first movements, the human infant is often thought to be born with an immature brain. However, behavioral and brain research shows that infants have advanced brains that are ready to learn even before birth. The infant brain doubles in both size and weight during the first year of life. During infancy, nerve cells increase dramatically in number, they become more specialized, and up to a thousand new connections per second are formed between them. The foundation for the brain’s infrastructure is formed during the first thousand days of life. Different neural networks are formed in response to the quantity and quality of experiences a child is exposed to. In addition, the growing brain is open and moldable, it can adapt to the changing conditions surrounding it, and the brains of infants and small children show the most plasticity. Developmental neuroscience research suggests that as soon as babies start crawling at around 9 months of age, they undergo remarkable development of prospective control and timing skills at both the brain and behavioral levels when dealing with visual motion. Only a few weeks after crawling onset, infants process visual motion faster and more efficiently, and they differentiate between motion speeds and directions. Stimulating the development of motor skills that allow babies to start exploring their surroundings by themselves earlier is therefore likely to facilitate brain development.


  • Cognitive Psychology/Neuroscience

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