The movements of newborns have been thoroughly studied in terms of reflexes, muscle synergies, leg coordination, and target-directed arm/hand movements. Since these approaches have concentrated mainly on separate accomplishments, there has remained a clear need for more integrated investigations. Here, we report an inquiry in which we explicitly concentrated on taking such a perspective and, additionally, were guided by the methodological concept of home base behavior, which Ilan Golani developed for studies of exploratory behavior in animals. Methods from nonlinear dynamics, such as symbolic dynamics and recurrence plot analyses of kinematic data received from audiovisual newborn recordings, yielded new insights into the spatial and temporal organization of limb movements. In the framework of home base behavior, our approach uncovered a novel reference system of spontaneous newborn movements.
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