Is lower peripheral information weighted differently as a function of step number during step climbing?

Valentina Graci, Marco Rabuffetti, Carlo Frigo, Maurizio Ferrarin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The importance of peripheral visual information during stair climbing and how peripheral visual information is weighted as a function of step number during step climbing is unclear. Previous authors postulated that the knowledge of predictable characteristics of the steps may decrease reliance on foveal vision and transfer the online visual guidance of stair climbing to peripheral vision. Hence the aim of this study was to investigate if and how the occlusion of the lower peripheral visual field influenced stair climbing and if peripheral visual information was weighted differently between steps. Ten young adult male participants ascended a 5-step staircase under 2 visual conditions: full vision (FV) and lower visual occlusion (LO). Kinematic data (100 Hz) were collected. The effect of Vision and Step condition on vertical forefoot clearance was examined with a Repeated Measures 2-way ANOVA. Tukey's HSD test was used for post-hoc comparisons. A significant interaction Vision x Step and main effect of Step were found (p <= 0.04): vertical forefoot clearance was greater in LO compared to FV condition only on the 1st and the 2nd steps (p < 0.013) and on the last step compared to the other steps (p < 0.01). These findings suggest that online peripheral visual information is more relevant when negotiating the first two steps, rather than the end of a staircase and that the steps subsequent the first few ones may require different information likely based on proprioception or working memory of the step height.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-56
Number of pages5
JournalGait and Posture
Early online dateNov 13 2016
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2017



  • Lower peripheral visual information
  • Online visual control
  • Stair ascend
  • Stair climbing
  • Step

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation

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