Primitive and developmental reflexes are patterns of movement that prevent the body moving freely. In older children and adults, retention of these reflexes is linked to learning difficulties such as dyslexia and ADHD. But why do babies and young children have them in the first place? Some of them are obvious, such as the grasp or Palmer reflex. When an object or a adult’s finger is placed in a baby’s hand, the baby automatically grips, allowing the child to lean how to hold and manipulate the objects.
However other reflexes are obvious but research on robots may give us a clue.
“Sometimes early neurological or morphological constraints can actually have positive effects in the long term; for example, in the case of Elman’s neural network model of language learning, initial limitations on active maintenance abilties actually resulted in better corpus learning relative to networks that were not initially constrained. It appears that the constraints on motor skills in human infants may actually be a very important part of our eventual mastery at controlling our own bodies.“
Developing Intelligence: Constraints and Optimality
- INPP 2001 Conference Paper
- Talking Head to Help Autism
- Sensory Development Programme
- Dyslexic’s Brains Do Change From Tuition
- Dyslexia Not a Myth