The Dynamics of Development: Process, (Inter-)Action, & Complexity
Symposium 28: Motor planning and its relation to executive functions across the lifespan
Organised by Janna M. Gottwald (Durham University)
Abstract: Motor development is crucial for developing children to interact with the world in a goal-directed way, to learn about the environment, and to plan their actions. Thereby, motor development is assumed to be closely linked to cognitive development. This is for example illustrated by the fact that arising new motor skills enable new forms of interaction with the world and could therefore, along with these new experiences, foster slower developing cognitive functions, such as executive functions (i.e. inhibition, working memory, shifting). The onsets of reaching and grasping in infancy for instance, offer new opportunities for action, such as object manipulation, and opportunities to acquire knowledge, such as object and action knowledge.
This active exploration of the world enables experiencing the body-external world (i.e. object knowledge), as well as perceiving one’s own body movements and the interplay of different effectors (i.e. action knowledge). As soon as executive functions have sufficiently developed, they can in turn have impacts on motor performance. Working memory and inhibitory control for instance can positively influence manual dexterity and motor planning in middle childhood. In adulthood, executive functions can help to reduce the risk of falls in complex gait situations, and in older adults, changes in executive functioning are associated with changes in different motor skills, as well as in motor planning.
This symposium will address the development of motor skills, motor planning, and executive functions in five talks. Thereby, it will first focus on the developmental pattern of motor planning skills during childhood (especially the critical age period of middle childhood) and on different measures and tasks to assess motor behaviour and planning skills: The first talk is about general motor skills and motor planning in middle childhood (Bianca Jovanovic); the subsequent talk will address motor planning in middle childhood and adulthood (Oliver Herbort). The symposium will secondly address potential interdependencies of motor planning with the development of executive functions across the lifespan – in infancy (Janna Gottwald), childhood (Matthias Weigelt) and in old age (Tino Stöckel). Different perspectives on the characteristics of this relation will be discussed.
This symposium will take place in
Hotel CASA, Eerste Ringdijkstaat 4, 1097 BC, Amsterdam,
on 2 June 2018, 11:00-12:30.