Psychophysical Assessment of Toddlers' Ability to Cope With Slopes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This research examined how infants in early stages of walking determine whether a hill is safe or risky for locomotion. A psychophysical staircase procedure provided estimates of infants' physical ability to walk up and down slopes (2° to 36°), and a "go ratio" indexed the accuracy of their perceptual judgments. On average, perceptual judgments were scaled to walking ability on slopes. Children walked on safe slopes and balked on risky ones. For ascent, perceptual judgments were related to length of walking experience and walking skill on flat ground. Better walkers were also better perceivers. For descent, judgments neatly mirrored exploratory activity. Better perceivers explored hills more efficiently by hesitating, touching, and testing different positions on hills around the limits of their physical ability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)734-750
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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