New Publication: Postural Threat Modulates Perceptions of Balance-Related Movement During Support Surface Rotations

March 12, 2019

We are delighted to annouce a new publication in Neuroscience by six of our cluster members; Drs. Taylor Cleworth, Allan Adkin, John Allum, Tim Inglis, Romeo Chua and Mark Carpenter, entitled: "Postural Threat Modulates Perceptions of Balance-Related Movement During Support Surface Rotations". 


Postural threat decreases center of pressure displacements yet increases the magnitude of movement-related conscious sway perception during quiet standing. It is unknown how these changes influence perception of whole body movement during dynamic stance. The aim of this study was to examine how postural threat influences whole-body movements and conscious perception of these movements during continuous pseudo-random support surface perturbations to stance. Sixteen healthy young adults stood on a moveable platform with their eyes closed for 7 min in a low threat (1.1 m above ground, away from edge) then high threat (3.2 m above ground, near edge) condition. Continuous pseudorandom roll platform rotations (± 4.5°, < 0.5 Hz) evoked large amplitude sway in the medio-lateral (ML) direction. Participants were asked to remain upright and avoid a fall at all times while tracking their ML body movements using a handheld rotary encoder. Kinematic data was recorded using three markers placed on the upper trunk. Questionnaires assessed anxiety, fear and confidence. Electrodermal activity (EDA) was recorded as an indicator of arousal. Height-induced threat increased fear, anxiety and EDA, and decreased confidence. Trunk sway amplitude remained constant, while tracked movement amplitude increased at height. The gain for perceived to trunk movement was significantly increased at height across frequencies. Threat-related increases in sensitivity of sensory systems related to postural control and changes in cognitive and attention processes may lead to misperceptions of actual movement amplitudes, which may be important when examining increased fall risk in those with a fear of falling.

Access the full article here. 

  • Publication

First Nations land acknowledegement

The UBC Point Grey campus is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm.

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