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Reaching Movements With Limb-Based Visual Feedback

Fatemeh Zahed and Max Berniker

Reaches in experimental settings are commonly found to be straight. This straightness is robust to physical, but not visual, perturbations. Here, we question whether typical visual feedback contributes to this finding by implicitly promoting straight movements. To do so, we replaced the conventional feedback depicting the hand’s location with feedback depicting the limb’s orientation. Reaching movements with three different visual feedback conditions were examined. In the final condition, the subject’s arm was depicted as two rotating links, and targets were depicted as two links indicating a desired arm posture. We found that by replacing standard cursor feedback, reaches became curved and arched to the target. Our findings further demonstrate that depicted feedback influences movements, and feedback depicting the limb, in particular, may elicit curved reaches.

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Examining the Mechanisms of Internal and External Focus of Attention With Donders’ Subtractive Method

Jarrod Blinch, John R. Harry, Melanie A. Hart, and Denis Cousineau

The goal of the current study was to measure the processing demands on the stages of information processing with internal and external foci of attention. Participants completed simple and two-choice reaction time tasks with internal and external foci of attention. Donders’ subtraction method was used to isolate the cumulative duration of stages unique to simple and choice reaction time tasks. Mean reaction time was comparable with internal and external foci of attention in simple and two-choice reaction time tasks. These results suggest that processing demands were comparable with internal and external foci of attention. We hypothesize that there was not a processing advantage for an external focus in simple reaction time because the required movements had low movement complexity.

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Young Swimmers’ Classification Based on Performance and Biomechanical Determinants: Determining Similarities Through Cluster Analysis

Jorge E. Morais, Tiago M. Barbosa, Henrique P. Neiva, Mario C. Marques, and Daniel A. Marinho

The aim of this study was to classify and identify young swimmers’ performance, and biomechanical determinant factors, and understand if both sexes can be clustered together. Thirty-eight swimmers of national level (22 boys: 15.92 ± 0.75 years and 16 girls: 14.99 ± 1.06 years) were assessed. Performance (swim speed at front crawl stroke) and a set of kinematic, efficiency, kinetic, and hydrodynamic variables were measured. Variables related to kinetics and efficiency (p < .001) were the ones that better discriminated the clusters. All three clusters included girls. Based on the interaction of these determinant factors, there are girls who can train together with boys. These findings indicate that not understanding the importance of the interplay between such determinants may lead to performance suppression in girls.

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Event-Related Potentials Analysis of the Effects of Discontinuous Short-Term Fine Motor Imagery on Motor Execution

ShiYao Wu and Li Sui

In this study, event-related potentials and neurobehavioral measurements were used to investigate the effects of discontinuous short-term fine motor imagery (MI), a paradigm of finger sequential MI training interspersed with no-MI that occurs within 1 hr, on fine finger motor execution. The event-related potentials revealed that there were significant differences in the P300 between the fine MI training and the no-MI training. There were also significant changes in the P200 between fine motor execution of familiar tasks after MI training and fine motor execution of unfamiliar tasks without MI training. Neurobehavioral data revealed that the fine MI enhanced fine motor execution. These findings may suggest that discontinuous short-term fine MI could be useful in improving fine motor skills.

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Obesity Is Associated With Gait Alterations and Gait Asymmetry in Older Adults

Hao Meng and Stacey L. Gorniak

Objectives: The prevalence of obesity (OB) has increased in the older adult (OA) population. However, it is not quite clear whether OB exaggerates gait instability and leads to a higher risk of falls in OAs. The first goal of this study was to investigate whether OB is associated with gait alterations and gait asymmetry in OAs. The second goal of this study was to examine relationships between various OB measures with gait measures and gait symmetry measures in OAs. Methods: A total of 30 OAs were included and categorized according to their body mass index (BMI) values into groups of persons with normal weight (NW), overweight (OW), and OB. Participants were required to complete an anthropometric assessment, a body composition assessment, and overground walking tests. Results: The group with OB had shorter swing phase, longer stance phase, and shorter single support phase than the NW group. Increased body weight, BMI, visceral adipose tissue mass, and android fat had correlations with shorter swing phase, longer stance phase, and shorter single support phase. Increased body weight and BMI had significantly positive correlations with symmetry index of knee range of motion. Conclusions: OB may impair gait automation capacity in OAs. Both body weight and BMI remain good measures in terms of establishing correlations with gait stability in OAs. However, the amount of fat mass surrounding the abdomen could be vital to interpreting the alterations in the gait of OAs with obesity.

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The Effects of Number and Separation of Support Lines on the Size, Velocity, and Smoothness of Handwriting

Ivonne H.F. Duiser, Annick Ledebt, John van der Kamp, and Geert J.P. Savelsbergh

We examined the effects of number of and separation between support lines on handwriting characteristics of primary school students with satisfactory and unsatisfactory handwriting. Students (mean age 7.9 years) copied a text on paper with a baseline and with two or four support lines with a separation of 3 or 4 mm between the central lines. Handwriting size, velocity, and smoothness were determined for the four conditions relative to baseline. Children with unsatisfactory handwriting wrote larger and had more lifts during baseline condition. Writing between support lines, especially with small separation, immediately reduced the size of handwriting, but also adversely affected velocity and smoothness. Future research is needed to assess long-term effects.

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Volume 26 (2022): Issue 2 (Apr 2022)

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Cognitive and Physical Effects of Warm-Up on Young Soccer Players

Francisco Tomás González-Fernández, Hugo Sarmento, Sixto González-Víllora, Juan Carlos Pastor-Vicedo, Luis Manuel Martínez-Aranda, and Filipe Manuel Clemente

This study analyzed the effects of with (WC) or without conducting a warm up on youth soccer players immediately before performing physical and cognitive tests. Fourteen youth soccer player (age 11.64 ± 0.50) participated in a counterbalanced cross-sectional study in which three conditions were tested: (a) basal lineal condition; (b) WC (immediately before the physical and cognitive tests); and (c) without WC (passive resting for 15 min between the warm-up and physical and cognitive tests). A 30-m sprint test, countermovement jump, and psychomotor vigilance task were also applied. The WC revealed significant improvements in countermovement jump (p < .05), 30-m sprint test performance (p < .05), and reaction time in psychomotor vigilance task (p < .05) in comparison to basal lineal condition and without WC. A 15-min rest after a warm-up has a meaningfully decremental effect on the physical and cognitive readiness of youth soccer players, in comparison with when they warm-up immediately before the demands are imposed.

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Visual, Vestibular, and Proprioceptive Dependency of the Control of Posture in Chronic Neck Pain Patients

Alireza Alizadeh, Amir Salar Jafarpisheh, Maryam Mohammadi, and Amir H. Kahlaee

Sensory reweighting of postural control was compared in participants with and without neck pain. Center of pressure variables of 60 volunteers, the same in each group, were calculated under four standing conditions: (a) eyes open, neutral head posture; (b) foam interface, eyes open; (c) cervical extension, eyes open; and (d) cervical extension, eyes closed. All center of pressure variables except anterior posterior range/velocity increased significantly in Condition 2 compared with Conditions 1 and 3 (p < .001) and in Condition 4 compared with Conditions 1 and 3. The mediolateral range/velocity and path length in both groups, anterior posterior range in patients, and center of pressure area in the control group were significantly different between Conditions 2 and 4 (p < .001). No overweighting was observed on the vestibular or visual afferents in patients. Compensatory strategies seem to lie within the proprioceptive system.

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High-Intensity Interval Exercise Performance in Judo Athletes: Physiological, Perceptual, and Pacing Responses

Rafael L. Kons and Daniele Detanico

This study aimed to verify the behavior of physiological, perceptual, and performance responses during a high-intensity exercise in judo athletes and to identify if this protocol is able to discriminate athletes from different levels (national vs. state). Forty-five male judo athletes participated and were divided into two groups: state (age 24.2 ± 3.7 years) and national (22.1 ± 3.3 years). Judo athletes performed a judo-specific protocol contained high-intensity intermittent exercise consisted of 12 sets of 20 s in all-out intensity. During the protocol, the repetitions and heart rate were assessed over the sets, and at the end of the protocol, the rate of perceived exertion was measured. The results showed that the national group presented higher repetitions (29 ± 4 repetitions) during the high-intensity intermittent exercise compared with state (22 ± 2 repetitions). However, the national group showed a progressive decrease of repetitions up to the middle of the protocol, which coincided with higher values of heart rate compared with state (first and second sets). There was a decrease of repetitions from the first set (p < .001) and similar values of heart rate from the third set in the state. In conclusion, the performance (in repetitions) during the high-intensity intermittent exercise was able to discriminate athletes from different competitive levels. National athletes presented better performance, but worse pacing strategy compared with state.