Purpose: In the upright stance, young adults better stabilize their posture when they perform precise visual or pointing movements than when they stand quietly. We tested if postural stability could be improved further if precise and pointing tasks were combined. Method: Twenty-four healthy young adults (22 ± 12 years) performed six tasks combining three visual tasks (precise search, unprecise free-viewing and fixation tasks) and two pointing tasks (pointing-on and pointing-off tasks with laser beam on and off, respectively). In the visual tasks, participants either searched to locate targets within an image (precise task), looked at the image with no goal (unprecise task) or fixated on a cross (fixation task). In the pointing-on tasks, participants pointed a laser beam onto a small circle (2°) located in the middle of a larger circle (21°) containing the image. Result: As expected, postural sway was reduced in the precise tasks in contrast to the fixation tasks. Contrary to expectations, both precise and pointing-on tasks did not add their stabilizing effects. Furthermore, the pointing-on task almost did not influence body movements. The participants rotated their eyes and head more and their upper back less in the precise visual tasks than in the unprecise visual tasks. Conclusion: The participants used a stabilizing coordination to fully explore images with eye and head rotations while stabilizing their body to perform precise gaze shifts. Our findings suggest that posture stabilization is performed to facilitate success in precise visual tasks more so than to perform pointing-on tasks.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Physiology (medical)