Visual Fixation and Postural Sway in Children
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Adults are able to use a visual target to reduce quiet-standing postural sway (Lee & Lishman, 1975). The present study was designed to determine whether children, under varying postural conditions, are also able to use a visual target to reduce postural sway. A second purpose was to determine the ability of children to visually fixate under different postural conditions. An inability to visually fixate may limit the usefulness of a visual target. The results indicate that, like adults, children are able to reduce sway in the presence of a visual target. Young children are less able than older children and adults to visually fixate. In addition, children show more spontaneous visual saccades in the no-target condition than in the target condition and more saccades in the Romberg stance than in a feet-together stance. The fact that saccades decrease with increasing age, even in the seated, head-stabilized condition, precludes the possibility that increased instability of the young children is the only cause of increased number of saccades.
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