Developmental Vision in Action

The natural ability of vision to guide motor action was perfectly in evidence as you soak in this amazing video that has gone viral:

A child psychologist would never get IRB approval to set up this type of laboratory experiment where one twin (Bowdy) would act as a “first responder” to a crisis situation in which the other twin (Brock) was trapped with no one else around.  The more I paused the video and re-watched, the more things I saw.  Consider the following:

  • There is a round pink object of some sort on the floor directly under the open drawer where Brock is climbing in just before the dresser topples.  Depending on how you look at it, the object may have contributed to the topple, but also may have served as a fulcrum (together with the opened middle drawers) that allowed some leverage for the boys to maneuver.
  • Brock pops his head out of the open drawer into which he was climbing and takes the brunt of the impact on his noggin.  In an interview his mother noted that the boys were fine.  She also notes that when she went into their room they were playing quietly in the corner, and Brock ran up to her saying “Ouchy-ouchy” and pointing to his head and the dresser.
  • There is a wooden toy chest on the wall next to where Bowdy topples backward.  Had he been an inch or two to his right, he could have easily been concussed by the fall.  The moment after he topples backward, his instinct is to get up and try to push the dresser forward.
  • When pushing the dresser forward doesn’t work, he begins surveying the scene.  He may have even been a little dazed.  Gathering himself he follows a toppled appliance cord to its origin, and fortunately the fulcrum effect prevented Brock from being choked as Bowdy climbs on the back of the dresser to get to its base.
  • You can “see the wheels turning” in Bowdy’s head and he visually surveys the situation from various angles.  When lifting the dresser fails, he recalls there is room to push the dresser forward just enough to provide Brock the wiggle room to escape.
  • As the video ends, you’ll note that Bowdy glances at Brock but is focused on trying to upright the dresser.  So while no doubt Bowdy is the hero of this all’s well that apparently ends well story, their mother reported that her boys were not so much scared of what happened as they were nervous about being in trouble.
  • Mom also noted that the boys were “100 percent A-OK”.  By all means I hope so, but the  adrenaline with which they reacted can mask things.  And as we now know, with young brains vigilance about mTBI sequelae is in order, particular when a child is astute enough after the fact to report he experienced a head ouch-ouchy.

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