The authors used two analyses developed within the framework of the uncontrolled manifold hypothesis to quantify multimuscle synergies during voluntary body sway: analysis of intertrial variance and analysis of motor equivalence with respect to the center of pressure (COP) trajectory. Participants performed voluntary sway tasks in the anteroposterior direction at 0.33 and 0.66 Hz. Muscle groups were identified in the space of muscle activations and used as elemental variables in the synergy analyses. Changing mechanical and vision feedback–based constraints led to significant changes in indices of sway performance such as COP deviations in the uninstructed, mediolateral direction and indices of spontaneous postural sway. In contrast, there were no significant effects on synergy indices. These findings show that the neural control of performance and of its stability may involve different control variables and neurophysiological structures. There were strong correlations between the indices of motor equivalence and those computed using the intercycle variance analysis. This result is potentially important for studies of patients with movement disorders who may be unable to perform multiple trials (cycles) at any given task, making analysis of motor equivalence of single trials a viable alternative to explore changes in stability of actions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience