How do we develop an optimised sensorimotor system?
Human infants are born with exceptionally poor visual and motor skills but by the time they reach adulthood, most vision and action is highly proficient and near-automatic. My lab investigates the processes that support this development. I will present data showing that adults’ are highly adept at accounting for the noise in their sensory estimates and the imprecisions of their movements. This allows them to form judgments and choose actions with a high chance of success in highly complex environments. Our recent research shows that this is not a trivial ability to acquire - using a combination of model-driven neuroimaging and behavioural methods, we demonstrate that children as old as 10-11 years do not correctly account for the noise in their system during vision and visually-guided action, which places them at unnecessary risk of failing at visuomotor tasks as result. I will present some examples of tasks that are substantially affected by this development, and present modelling work aimed at understanding which processes drive this shift from inefficient sensorimotor processing in childhood to the highly optimised adult end-state.