We studied postural adjustments associated with a quick voluntary postural sway under two conditions, self-paced and simple reaction-time. Standing subjects were required to produce quick discrete shifts of the center of pressure (COP) forward. About 400-500. ms prior to the instructed COP shift, there were deviations of the COP in the opposite direction (backwards) accompanied by changes in the activation levels of several postural muscles. Under the reaction-time conditions, the timing of those early postural adjustments did not change (repeated measures MANOVA: p>0.05) while its magnitude increased significantly (confirmed by repeated measures MANOVA: p< 0.05). These observations are opposite to those reported for anticipatory postural adjustments under simple reaction time conditions (a significant change in the timing without major changes in the magnitude). We conclude that there are two types of feed-forward postural adjustments. Early postural adjustments prepare the body for the planned action and/or expected perturbation. Some of these preparatory actions may be mechanically necessary. Later, anticipatory postural adjustments generate net forces and moments of force acting against those associated with the expected perturbation. Both types of adjustments fit well the referent configuration hypothesis, which offers a unified view on movement-posture control.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
- Clinical Neurology