Hierarchical organization of a reference system in newborn spontaneous movements

Birte Assmann, M. Carmen Romano, Marco Thiel, Carsten Niemitz

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

11 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we studied spontaneous newborn movements regarding the coordination of the four limbs, arms and legs, from a dynamic perspective. We used the method of recurrence plots to analyse the kinematic data from audiovisual recordings of neonates. We identified temporal and spatial synchronization of the four limbs that resulted in high recurrence patterns of biomechanical reference configurations. Furthermore, we identified transitions between linear and nonlinear epochs in the movement behavior of newborns on different time scales by means of recurrence quantification analysis. Results are discussed in the context of the concept of a structural hierarchy, in which different time scales correspond to hierarchical levels of organization. (C) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)568-586
Number of pages19
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007


  • spontaneous newborn movements
  • kinematics
  • nonlinear dynamics
  • hierarchical organization
  • recurrence quantification analysis
  • early motor development
  • path-integration
  • dynamic-systems
  • leg movements
  • young infants
  • time-series
  • plots
  • behavior
  • coordination


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