A common perceptual parameter for stair climbing for children, young and old adults

P Cesari*, F Formenti, P Olivato

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this paper we examine whether a common perceptual parameter is available for guiding old adults, young adults and children in climbing the highest stair mountable in a bipedal fashion. Previous works have shown that the ratio between the height of the stair and the hip height was the body-scaled invariance adopted as information for selecting the highest stair by young adults [Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 10 (1984) 683-703] but not by older adults [Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 3 (1992) 691-697]. Indeed, for older adults additional bio-mechanical parameters needed to be added to the model due to their decrease in leg strength and flexibility.

Up to now, no perceptual invariant has been identified yet for determining the relevant information used for guiding the stair climbing action for normal healthy people. We propose a new parameter as the angle defined by the ratio between the height of the stair and the distance taken from the feet to the top edge of the stair before the initiation of the movement. We show that this angle is the same for children, young adults and older adults despite the different kinematics of the motion, the anthropometrics and the skill ability exhibit by the participants. In summary we show that even when the climbability judgments, based on the simple ratio leg length-stair height, are influenced by differences in age, participants use a common perceptual variable when they are coordinating their stair climbing action. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-124
Number of pages14
JournalHUMAN MOVEMENT SCIENCE
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2003

Keywords

  • development
  • elderly
  • scaling
  • dimensional analysis
  • stair climbing
  • GRIP CONFIGURATIONS

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