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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: September 2020

17 - Action in Development

from Part IV - Action


Infant motor skill acquisition is so rapid and dramatic that a century of researchers – and eons of parents – have marveled at the scope of developmental change. At birth, infants are essentially prisoners of gravity, unable to lift their heads from their caregivers’ chest. But by 2 years of age, infants can “pluck a pellet with fine pincer prehension” (Gesell, 1929, p. 132) and race on two feet across the living room floor. This remarkable transformation in action characterizes the development of basic motor skills – posture for supporting the body against gravitational and inertial forces, manual skills for interacting with objects and surfaces, and locomotion for moving the body through the environment (Adolph & Berger, 2015).

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