Quantity and quality of motor exploration are proposed to be fundamental for infant motor development. However, it is still not clear what types of motor exploration contribute to learning. To determine whether changes in quantity of leg movement and/or variability of leg acceleration are related to performance in a contingency learning task, twenty 6¿8-month-old infants with typical development participated in a contingency learning task. During this task, a robot provided reinforcement when the infant's right leg peak acceleration was above an individualized threshold. The correlation coefficient between the infant's performance and the change in quantity of right leg movement, linear variability, and nonlinear variability of right leg movement acceleration from baseline were calculated. Simple linear regression and multiple linear regression were calculated to explain the contribution of each variable to the performance individually and collectively. We found significant correlation between the performance and the change in quantity of right leg movement (r = 0.86, p less than 0.001), linear variability (r = 0.71, p less than 0.001), and nonlinear variability (r = 0.62, p = 0.004) of right leg movement acceleration, respectively. However, multiple linear regression showed that only quantity and linear variability of leg movements were significant predicting factors for the performance ratio (p less than 0.001, adjusted R2 = 0.94). These results indicated that the quantity of exploration and variable exploratory strategies could be critical for the motor learning process during infancy.
acceleration; infant; leg movement; motor learning; quantity; variability