Upper body balance control strategy during continuous 3D postural perturbation in young adults

V. Amori, M. Petrarca, F. Patané, E. Castelli, P. Cappa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We explored how changes in vision and perturbation frequency impacted upright postural control in healthy adults exposed to continuous multiaxial support-surface perturbation. Ten subjects were asked to maintain equilibrium in standing stance with eyes open (EO) and eyes closed (EC) during sinusoidal 3D rotations at 0.25 (L) and 0.50. Hz (H). We measured upper-body kinematics - head, trunk, and pelvis - and analyzed differences in horizontal displacements and roll, pitch, and yaw sways. The presence of vision significantly decreased upper-body displacements in the horizontal plane, especially at the head level, while in EC the head was the most unstable segment. H trials produced a greater segment stabilization compared to L ones in EO and EC. Analysis of sways showed that in EO participants stabilized their posture by reducing the variability of trunk angles; in H trials a sway decrease for the examined segments was observed in the yaw plane and, for the pelvis only, in the pitch plane. Our results suggest that, during continuous multiaxial perturbations, visual information induced: (i) in L condition, a continuous reconfiguration of multi-body-segments orientation to follow the perturbation; (ii) in H condition, a compensation for the ongoing perturbation. These findings were not confirmed in EC where the same strategy - that is, the use of the pelvis as a reference frame for the body balance was adopted both in L and H.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-25
Number of pages7
JournalGait and Posture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015



  • Continuous multiaxial perturbation
  • Dynamic posturography
  • Perturbation frequency
  • Visual condition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Medicine(all)
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation

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