Children's use of haptic information in wielding tennis rackets.
This programme of work was designed to examine the use of moment of inertia during the
perception of haptic information in support of action. There has been limited empirical
work examining children's sensitivity to haptic information and how this supports their
actions during dynamic touch. Experiment 1 examined children's ability to perceive
changes in moment of inertia across different tennis rackets through the process of
wielding. The results found the children to be sensitive to moment of inertia information.
Experiment 2 examined the effect of development over 12 months upon children's
preferred choice of racket for a given task. Over 12 months, based on variability data, the
results suggested a trend for children's preference of racket to change under the visual
condition. Experiment 3 examined if sensitivity to moment of inertia information becomes
more attuned through experience gained through everyday manipUlatory activities and
more so through task specific experience. The results suggested that sensitivity to moment
of inertia did increase with experience. Experiment 4 examined whether sensitivity to
moment of inertia differs with changes to its components, mass and mass distribution.
Regardless of experience, the results found that perception of moment of inertia was not
effected through any changes in mass or mass distribution. Experiment 5 examined if
children were able to judge which racket would afford an optimal performance in a
maximum striking task, in advance of executing the task. It also examined individual
differences in both perceptual and movement behaviour and how these related to
constraints imposed on the individual. The results suggested that children were not able to
judge in advance the affordance of a racket for the given task. The results also highlighted
a high level of intra-individual variability. In conclusion, the findings of this programme of
work highlight the importance for practitioners to consider children individually and to
recognise the many different constraints acting upon their systems at any given time.
Further research is still required to identify informational constraints and understand how
they affect an individual's performance. By identifying these constraints more effective
learning and practice environments can be designed to facilitate and enhance skill