Dataset_The effect of specific locomotor experiences on infants avoidance behaviour on real and water cliffs (2020)

Published: 05-10-2020| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/3vzkhnwh38.1
Carolina Burnay,
Rita Cordovil,
Chris Button,
J Croft,
Matthew Schofield,
Joana Vilar Pereira,
David Anderson


The present study examined crawling and walking infants’ avoidance and exploratory behaviour on the Real Cliff / Water Cliff (RC/WC) apparatus. The RC/WC apparatus consists of a 200 x 120 x 75cm platform with a real cliff at one end and a water cliff at the opposite end. Climbing equipment was used to ensure infant’s safety. The main aim of this study was to investigate the impact of specific locomotor experiences on infants’ avoidance of falling on the real and the water cliffs and to compare infants’ avoidance and exploratory behaviours on the real and the water cliffs. Infants were tested once on the real cliff and once on the water cliff, with trial order counterbalanced. The experimenter placed the infants close to the opposite edge of the platform. After the trial was initiated, the experimenter would only interfere with the infants’ movements if they did not move from the starting position during the first minute, in which case the experimenter would place them near the platform edge. The trials ended: (a) after 180s, if the infant had moved from the starting position but had not reached the platform edge; (b) 150s after the infant reached the platform edge; (c) when the infant fell off or descended from the platform edge; (d) when the infant started showing signs of distress or fussiness. If the infant showed signs of distress or fussiness during the first 60s of the trial and was not able to be calmed down, the test was ended and the infant was excluded from subsequent analyses. If the infant showed signs of distress or fussiness after 60s of reaching the edge, the test was ended, and the infant was coded as an avoider. Infants were free to move around and explore the platform while their mothers were calling them. Infants were code for: Avoidance behaviour: Infants who fell from the platform were coded as “fell”. Infants who stayed on the platform until the end of the trial were coded as “avoided” and infants who adapted their behaviour by turning around, laying their bellies on the platform and safely descending feet first, were coded “descended”; Approaching time: starting from the moment the infants were placed in the starting position and ending when they reached the edge of the cliff; Latency time: from the moment the infant reached the platform edge until the end of the trial; Tactile exploration time: accumulated duration of periods in which infants’ hands or feet went below the line of the platform, touching the water or reaching down towards the floor, until the moment they touched any other surface (apparatus or own body); Posture of exploration: accumulated duration of periods in which infants assumed a sitting, lying prone, crawling, squatting or upright posture; Pre-Fall posture: posture adopted at the moment the infants fell or locomoted over the platform edge; Retreat behaviour: if after getting to the platform edge infants moved away from it at least once.