This project aims to generate novel and detailed data regarding motor planning in children, including children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
The ability to anticipate what is going to happen next is a fundamental component in the precise activity that we depend on in our everyday interactions with the surrounding world. A vital part of this process is motor planning - the ability of the brain to imagine a goal, then organize and carry out a sequence of actions to attain it. Impaired motor planning ability may thus hamper both physical and psychological development. However, we lack basic data on how motor planning ability develops over time in children, how it is associated with underlying brain function, and how this development is affected in the case of neurological disorder.
This project aims to generate novel and detailed data regarding motor planning in children, including children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We will use combined high-resolution upper-body- and eye-movement registrations during goal-directed reaching and grasping performance to investigate how children plan actions. Associations with relevant brain structures as measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) will also be explored. These detailed measurements of motor planning performance in typically and atypically developing children will then be associated with behavioral and health measures at the different ages studied. Taken together, this knowledge will advance current knowledge of the development of typical motor planning ability, and be highly valuable in the important task to optimize development and health in children at risk for motor planning deficiencies.