The Development of Motor Behavior

Wiley Interdiscip Rev Cogn Sci. 2017 Jan;8(1-2):10.1002/wcs.1430. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1430. Epub 2016 Dec 1.


This article reviews research on the development of motor behavior from a developmental systems perspective. We focus on infancy when basic action systems are acquired. Posture provides a stable base for locomotion, manual actions, and facial actions. Experience facilitates improvements in motor behavior and infants accumulate immense amounts of experience with all of their basic action systems. At every point in development, perception guides motor behavior by providing feedback about the results of just prior movements and information about what to do next. Reciprocally, the development of motor behavior provides fodder for perception. More generally, motor development brings about new opportunities for acquiring knowledge about the world, and burgeoning motor skills can instigate cascades of developmental changes in perceptual, cognitive, and social domains. WIREs Cogn Sci 2017, 8:e1430. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1430 For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Humans
  • Locomotion*
  • Motor Activity*
  • Postural Balance
  • Psychology, Child*
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Reflex
  • Tool Use Behavior