The Development of Bimanual Coordination Across Toddlerhood

Volume 84, Issue 2, Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development

by Karen Brakke, Ph.D., and Matheus M. Pacheco, Ph.D.

Included in this issue:


How do new skills emerge in toddlerhood? In this monograph, Karen Brakke and Matheus M. Pacheco describe what they discovered from watching seven toddlers who participated in drumming sessions held as the toddlers developed from 15 to 27 months. Behaviors andstrategies changed both within and across drumming sessions. Although each toddler followed a unique trajectory in transitioning from mirror-image (in-phase) drumming to alternating (antiphase) drumming, as a group, toddlers used similar strategies. This research expands our understanding not only of bimanual motor control, but also offers general lessons about how to study and model developmental strategies and processes.

About the Authors

Karen E. Brakke

Department of Psychology,
Spelman College

Karen Brakke, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Psychology at Spelman College. Her research interests focus on skill development in infancy and early childhood, with particular emphasis on object manipulation and bimanual coordination.

Matheus M. Pacheco

School of Physical Education and Sport,
University of São Paulo

Matheus M. Pacheco, Ph.D. was a research professional at the University of Groningen while completing the Monograph. He is currently affiliated with the University of São Paulo. His research focuses on the process of change in acquisition of motor skills (adaptation, learning and development) through the lenses of the dynamical systems approach.



All videos are used with the permission of Spelman College. All rights reserved.

Sneak Peek: How Do Toddlers Develop Bimanual Coordination? | Monograph Matters 84.2
What can we learn from observing toddlers drumming patterns? This video provide a quick (~1 minute) snapshot of the research published in volume 84, issue 2 of the Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development by Drs. Karen Brakke and Matheus M. Pacheco, who studied the emergence of particular bimanual coordination patterns in toddlers over time.

Overview: Bimanual Coordination in Toddlerhood | Monograph Matters 84.2
Dr. Karen Brakke (Spelman College) summarizes the research done with co-author, Dr. Matheus M. Pacheco (University of São Paulo) on the emergence of particular coordination patterns by observing toddlers drumming abilities over time. Results indicate that toddlers increased in antiphase (moving arms opposite each other) stability after about 20 months of age and adopted multiple methods to stabilizing the new skill of antiphase movement.

Methodological Lessons: Introduction to Data Analyses Procedures | Monograph Matters 84.2
In this methods video, Dr. Matheus M. Pacheco outlines and explains three data analysis procedures utilized in a 2019 study conducted with Dr. Karen Brakke, now published in the Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development. The presentation is suitable for all levels and serves as an introduction for those who are starting to use these analyses and require a broad overview of their functions.

What will be discussed:

  • Hilbert Transform Relative Phase
  • Wavelet Analysis
  • Linear Mixed Effects Analysis

Teaching Resources

The instructional materials below provide applications for motor development and bimanual coordination, and offer lessons that highlight the value of

  1. employing a dynamic systems framework for understanding complex developmental phenomena,
  2. combining cross-sectional and longitudinal research designs, and
  3. identifying and studying the processes that underlie skill development as children get older.