Motor development: from dynamical system approach to a neo-developmental application


  • José A. Barela Department of Physical Education, Institute of Biosciences, São Paulo State University, Rio Claro, SP, Brazil - [email protected]



Perception-action, Intrinsic dynamics, Physical education, Motor skill acquisition, Epigenetic development


The aim of this study was to present a dynamical view of motor development and a few factors affecting the developmental course and rate of motor changes. The acquisition of motor skills involves one’s exploration of many body segmental configurations, followed by the selection of those that are most useful to achieve the task demands. Exploration and selection are attained through searching and the evolution and dissolution of the stable dynamical regions of coordination modes for a given task. Development then involves an interaction between the learner and environment, dissolving relatively successful dynamics in search of even more rewarding dynamics for the new task, based upon repetitive perception-action cycles. Developmental changes can occur naturally, but can also be deterministically influenced by, for example, teachers enhancing the probability of systematic change in performance over time. This influence can be through the planned introduction of interventions and providing information that drives the learner to transition to stable modes of performance and search for new body configuration dynamics required for the new task. Teachers play an important role in guiding learners through this complex developmental journey.


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How to Cite

Barela, J. A. (2021). Motor development: from dynamical system approach to a neo-developmental application. Brazilian Journal of Motor Behavior, 15(5), 321–332.



Special issue: 15 years of Brazilian Journal of Motor Behavior


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