Contribution of the haptic perception in the postural control of children

  • Tatiane Calve Departamento de Educação Física/Unesp Rio Claro SP
  • Eliane Mauerberg-deCastro Departamento de Educação Física/Unesp Rio Claro SP


The purpose of the present study was to assess the contribution of haptic perception while using an anchor system (Mauerberg-deCastro, 2002) during a postural control task. The task consisted of children--ages five, six and seven years old--walking blindfolded on a balance beam. The children manipulated the anchor system, consisting of two flexible cables with attached loads resting on the floor. We assessed developmental influence on postural control strategies and on haptic perception. Ninety children participated in this study (30 5-year-olds, 30 6-year-olds, and 30 7-year-olds). Children in each age group were randomly assigned to either a control task (no anchors), or to one of the two experimental tasks (i.e., the anchor system at loads of either 125g or 500g). Each participant performed six trials. The results indicated that the 7-year-old group improved postural control while using the anchor system. The 5- and 6-year-old groups deteriorated in performance while using the anchor system. We concluded that haptic perception has developmental constraints when postural perturbations require exploratory non-visual strategies.
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