Bilateral coordination in human infants: stepping on a split-belt treadmill

J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 1987 Aug;13(3):405-10. doi: 10.1037//0096-1523.13.3.405.


A motorized treadmill often elicits locomotor-like alternate stepping in 7-month-old infants who normally perform few, if any, stepping movements. The step cycle duration is a function of the speed of the treadmill. When infants were held so that each leg was on a separate treadmill belt, each of which was driven at a different speed, the overall cycle duration was intermediate between the cycle durations at the fast or slow speeds alone. Infants shortened the stance on the slow belt and increased the stance on the fast belt to maintain regularly alternating steps. Even before voluntary locomotion, both legs acted in a cooperative manner, with the dynamic status of one limb affecting the timespace behavior of the opposite limb.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Functional Laterality
  • Gait*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Leg / physiology
  • Male
  • Motor Skills* / physiology