Comparisons of Segment Coordination: An Investigation of Vector Coding

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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The development of a methodology to assess movement coordination has provided gait researchers a tool to assess movement organization. A challenge in analyzing movement coordination using vector coding lies within the inherent circularity of data garnered from this technique. Therefore, the purpose of this investigation was to determine if accurate group comparisons can be made with varying techniques of vector coding analyses. Thigh–shank coordination was analyzed using a modified vector coding technique on data from 2 groups of runners. Movement coordination was compared between groups using 3 techniques: (1) linear average completed with compressed data (0°–180°) and noncompressed data (0°–360°), (2) coordination phase binning analysis; and (3) a circular statistics analysis. Circular statistics (inferential) analysis provided a rigorous comparison of average movement coordination between groups. In addition, the binning analysis provided a metric for detecting even small differences in the time spent with a particular coordination pattern between groups. However, the linear analysis provided erroneous group comparisons. Furthermore, with compressed data, linear analysis led to misclassification of coordination patterns. While data compression may be attractive as a means of simplifying statistical analysis of inherently circular data, recommendations are to use circular statistics and binning methods on noncompressed data.

Freedman Silvernail is with the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV. Freedman Silvernail, van Emmerik, Boyer, Busa, and Hamill are with Biomechanics Laboratory, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. Busa is also with the Institute for Applied Life Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA.

Freedman Silvernail (jfs@unlv.edu) is corresponding author.
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