Transition of COM-COP relative phase in a dynamic balance task

Ji Hyun Ko, John Henry Challis, Karl M. Newell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the coordination between center of mass (COM) and center of pressure (COP) could be a candidate collective variable of a dynamical system that captures the organization of the multi-segmental whole body postural control system. We examined the transition of the COM-COP coordination pattern in a moving platform balance control paradigm. 10 young healthy adults stood on a moving surface of support that within a trial was sinusoidally translated in the anterior-posterior direction continuously scaling up and then down its frequency within the range from 0. Hz to 3.0. Hz. The COP was derived from a single force platform mounted on the moving surface of support. 4 angular joint motions (ankle, knee, hip, and neck) were measured by a 3D motion analysis system that also allowed COM to be derived. The COM-COP coordination changed from in-phase/anti-phase to anti-phase/in-phase at a certain frequency of the support surface, showed hysteresis as a function of the direction of frequency change and higher variability at the transition region. Conversely, the transition of the ankle-hip coordination consistently occurred at 0.3. Hz across subjects with little between or within subject variability as a function of transition frequency and before the COM-COP transition. The findings provide evidence that: (1) the transition of the COM-COP coordination pattern is that of a non-equilibrium phase transition with critical fluctuations and hysteresis; and (2) that COM-COP coupling is a candidate collective variable of the multi-segmental whole body postural control system acting on a redundant postural task.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalHuman Movement Science
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2014


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

Cite this