Learning new movements through an error-based process called motor adaptation is thought to involve multiple mechanisms which are still largely not understood. Previous studies have shown that young children adapt movement more slowly than adults, perhaps supporting the involvement of distinct neural circuits that come online at different stages of development. Recent studies in adults have shown that in addition to recalibrating a movement, motor adaptation also leads to changes in the perception of that movement. However, we do not yet understand the relationship between the processes that underlie motor and perceptual recalibration. Here we studied motor and perceptual recalibration with split-belt walking adaptation in adults and children aged 6–8 years. Consistent with previous work, we found that this group of children adapted their walking patterns more slowly than adults, though individual children ranged from slow to adult-like in their adaptation rates. Perceptual recalibration was also reduced in the same group of children compared to adults, with individual children ranging from having no recalibration to having adult–like recalibration. In sum, faster motor adaptation and the ability to recalibrate movement perception both come online within a similar age-range, raising the possibility that the same sensorimotor mechanisms underlie these processes.
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