Kids falling down

The Appeal of DirtIf, like me, you find the sense of balance and its development fascinating, or if you just want to learn more about toddlers falling over, check out Cognitive Daily’s wonderful piece discussing research on toddlers’ balance. A research team put weighted vests on toddlers to see how they would compensate when they tried to walk, and the poor little folks leaned the wrong way. That is, put a bit of weight on a toddler’s back, and he or she tends to lean backward to try to compensate. Man, little kids are ka-razy!

The piece by Dave Munger is, What backpack-wearing toddlers can tell us about how kids learn to walk. As always, Munger’s discussion is very thorough and gives a great sense for the original research. The work is reminiscent of the research of the late Esther Thelen, one of the psychologists who really opened my eyes to dynamic systems theory and a rethinking of developmental theory.

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Trained as a cultural anthropologist at the University of Chicago, I have gone on to do fieldwork in Brazil and the United States. I have written one book, Learning Capoeira: Lessons in Cunning from an Afro-Brazilian Art (Oxford, 2005). I have also co-authored and co-edited several, including, with Dr. Daniel Lende, The Encultured Brain: An Introduction to Neuroanthropology (MIT, 2012), and with Dr. Melissa Fisher, Frontiers of Capital: Ethnographic Reflections on the New Economy (Duke, 2006). My research interests include neuroanthropology, psychological anthropology, sport, dance, human rights, neuroscience, phenomenology, economic anthropology, and just about anything else that catches my attention.

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