Starting with fewer degrees of freedom has been shown to enable a more efficient exploration of the sensorimotor space. While not necessarily leading to optimal task performance, it results in a smaller number of directions of stability, which guide the coordination of additional degrees of freedom. The developmental release of additional degrees of freedom is then expected to allow for optimal task performance and more tolerance and adaptation to environmental interaction. In this paper, we test this assumption with a small-sized humanoid robot that learns to swing under environmental perturbations. Our experiments show that a progressive release of degrees of freedom alone is not sufficient to cope with environmental perturbations. Instead, alternate freezing and freeing of the degrees of freedom is required. Such finding is consistent with observations made during transitional periods in acquisition of skills in infants
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