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Current Project Spotlight: Darcy Smith

One of our graduate students, Darcy Smith, is currently investigating the impact of family education and income on infant motor development. Her previous research found socioeconomic status affects fine motor skills (small muscle movements, like picking up a toy) and perception-action skills (integrating vision and muscle movements, like catching a ball) but not gross motor skills (large muscle movements, like walking). Her current study confirms no direct relation between gross motor scores and education or income, but reveals that income is the driving force in the relation between SES and fine motor scores. In contrast, both education and income influence perception-action scores. Our findings suggest that income and education have different influences on motor development depending on the skills assessed. Fine motor skills may be sensitive to opportunities to play with small toys present in the home, which may be more prevalent in higher income homes, regardless of educational status.

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