Infants plan prehension while pivoting

Kasey C. Soska, Jaya Rachwani, Claes von Hofsten, Karen E. Adolph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Skilled object retrieval requires coordination of the perceptual and motor systems. Coordination is especially challenging when body position is changing and visual search is required to locate the target. In three experiments, we used a “pivot paradigm” to induce changes in body position: Participants were passively pivoted 180° toward a target placed at varied locations to the left and right of the center of a reaching board. Experiment 1 showed that 6- to 15-month-old infants (n = 41) plan prehension so quickly that they retrieve targets mid-turn and scale their reaches to target location relative to turn direction. Experiment 2 characterized planning mid-turn reaching in 6- to 8-month-olds (n = 5) wearing a head-mounted eye tracker. Reach planning depended on when the target appeared in the field of view—not on target fixation. Experiment 3 used head-mounted eye tracking and motion tracking to assess perceptual–motor coordination in adults (n = 13). Adults displayed more mid-turn reaching than infants. But like infants, adults scaled reaching to target location relative to turn direction, and contact time depended on when the target came into view—not on target fixation. Findings show that fast, efficient perceptual–motor coordination supports flexibility in infant prehension, and constraints on coordination are similar across the lifespan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1048-1063
Number of pages16
JournalDevelopmental Psychobiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019


  • infant
  • object prehension
  • planning
  • prospective control
  • reaching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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