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Differential Effects of Perturbation Magnitude on Reactive Balance Control in Young Sedentary Adults

Erika Zemková, Alena Cepková, and José M. Muyor

This study investigates postural responses to unexpected perturbations induced by a load release of different weights. Groups of 26 men (age 22.6 ± 2.4 years, height 178.0 ± 9.1 cm, and body mass 86.9 ± 11.5 kg) and 21 women (age 21.9 ± 2.7 years, height 168.8 ± 6.8 cm, and body mass 65.3 ± 8.7 kg) underwent load-triggered postural perturbations by 1 and 2 kg while standing on a force plate with either eyes open or eyes closed. Postural perturbations induced by a heavier load, representing about 2% and 3% of body weight in men and women, respectively, led to significantly higher peak anterior and peak posterior center of pressure displacements when compared with a lighter load (29.6% and 45.4%, respectively) both with eyes open (36.9%) and closed (42.1%). Their values were significantly lower in men than women only when a higher load was used (∼25%). However, there were no significant differences in time to peak anterior and posterior center of pressure displacements. These findings indicate that heavier load-induced postural perturbations are greater in women than men regardless of visual conditions. This underlines the importance of loading dose in the magnitude of postural responses to externally induced perturbations.

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Individuals With Intellectual Disabilities Rely on Somatosensory Information Rather Than Visual Information to Catch a Ball

W. Tolentino-Castro, L. Mochizuki, and H. Wagner

According to the literature, persons with intellectual disabilities have poor motor control in tasks in which motor anticipation is needed. Our study aimed to assess their motor behavior during interceptive tasks (a tennis ball interception with external-and-oneself throw conditions). A stick-bar was used as a reference or to support cloth to occlude a ball’s trajectory. Catch performance and interceptive behavior were analyzed (26 persons). The results show that high/low values of the initial approaching movement led to successful/successful catches, respectively. Our results are in line with the literature about the impact of poor motor control on performance in those with intellectual disabilities. We suggest that low anticipation may relate to problems in real-life situations.

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Unprompted Alteration of Freely Chosen Movement Rate During Stereotyped Rhythmic Movement: Examples and Review

Ernst Albin Hansen

Investigations of behavior and control of voluntary stereotyped rhythmic movement contribute to the enhancement of motor function and performance of disabled, sick, injured, healthy, and exercising humans. The present article presents examples of unprompted alteration of freely chosen movement rate during voluntary stereotyped rhythmic movements. The examples, in the form of both increases and decreases of movement rate, are taken from activities of cycling, finger tapping, and locomotion. It is described that, for example, strength training, changed power output, repeated bouts, and changed locomotion speed can elicit an unprompted alteration of freely chosen movement rate. The discussion of the examples is based on a tripartite interplay between descending drive, rhythm-generating spinal neural networks, and sensory feedback, as well as terminology from dynamic systems theory.

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Kinematics and Esthetics of Grand Battement After Static and Dynamic Hamstrings Stretching in Adolescents

Frédéric Dierick, Fabien Buisseret, Loreda Filiputti, and Nathalie Roussel

The objective of this study was to explore the effects of static and dynamic hamstring muscles stretching on kinematics and esthetics of grand battement (high velocity kicks) in adolescent recreational dancers. Sixteen participants were assessed before and immediately after both stretching modalities. Kinematics of movement was measured by an optoelectronic system and esthetics was scored by a jury of professional dancers. Both stretching modalities led to significant kinematic differences compared with without stretching. Significant linear correlations between kinematic parameters and esthetic scores have been observed: improving dancers’ physical performances has noticeable impact on the perception of their movements.

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Dissociating the Influence of Perceptual Biases and Contextual Artifacts Within Target Configurations During the Planning and Control of Visually Guided Action

James W. Roberts, Nicholas Gerber, Caroline J. Wakefield, and Philip J. Simmonds

The failure of perceptual illusions to elicit corresponding biases within movement supports the view of two visual pathways separately contributing to perception and action. However, several alternative findings may contest this overarching framework. The present study aimed to examine the influence of perceptual illusions within the planning and control of aiming. To achieve this, we manipulated and measured the planning/control phases by respectively perturbing the target illusion (relative size-contrast illusion; Ebbinghaus/Titchener circles) following movement onset and detecting the spatiotemporal characteristics of the movement trajectory. The perceptual bias that was indicated by the perceived target size estimates failed to correspondingly manifest within the effective target size. While movement time (specifically, time after peak velocity) was affected by the target configuration, this outcome was not consistent with the direction of the perceptual illusions. These findings advocate an influence of the surrounding contextual information (e.g., annuli) on movement control that is independent of the direction predicted by the illusion.

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Volume 25 (2021): Issue 2 (Apr 2021)

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Bernstein’s Philosophy of Time: An Unknown Manuscript by Nikolai Bernstein (1949)

Mark L. Latash and Vera L. Talis

The authors have presented an unpublished manuscript by Nikolai Aleksandrovich Bernstein written in the form of a diary in 1949. Bernstein focused on the concept of time as a coordinate in four-dimensional space and discussed a variety of issues, including the definition of time, its measurement, time travel, asymmetry of the past and future, and even linguistics. In particular, he offered a definition of life tightly linked to the concept of time. Overall, this manuscript offers a glimpse into Bernstein’s thinking, his sense of humor, and his sarcasm, intimately coupled with the very serious attitude to scientific discourse.

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Effect of Maximally Relaxed Lying Posture on the Severity of Stuttering in Young Adults Who Stutter

Abdulaziz Almudhi and Hamayun Zafar

The current study was carried out with the aim of investigating the effect of maximally relaxed lying posture on disfluencies in young adults who stutter. A total of 24 participants (17 males, seven females; mean age = 24.9 ± 6.2 years) with developmental stuttering were a part of the study. The participants were asked to perform spontaneous speaking and reading aloud tasks in standard sitting and maximally relaxed lying postures. The severity of stuttering for the studied postures was estimated by using the Stuttering Severity Instrument. The results on the Stuttering Severity Instrument showed that stuttering parameters improved during the maximally relaxed lying posture compared with the standard sitting position. The results are discussed in the light of motor control concepts. It is concluded that the maximally relaxed lying posture can facilitate improvement in stuttering scores during spontaneous speaking as well as reading aloud in young adults who stutter. Reduced stuttering scores in the maximally relaxed lying posture suggest that speech therapists can position participants in this position while treating people who stutter.

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Changes in Intermuscular Coherence as a Function of Age and Phase of Speech Production During an Overt Reading Task

Alesha Reed, Jacqueline Cummine, Neesha Bhat, Shivraj Jhala, Reyhaneh Bakhtiari, and Carol A. Boliek

Purpose: The authors evaluated changes in intermuscular coherence (IMC) of orofacial and speech breathing muscles across phase of speech production in healthy younger and older adults. Method: Sixty adults (30 younger = M: 26.97 year; 30 older = M: 66.37 year) read aloud a list of 40 words. IMC was evaluated across phase: preparation (300 ms before speech onset), initiation (300 ms after onset), and total execution (entire word). Results: Orofacial IMC was lowest in the initiation, higher in preparation, and highest for the total execution phase. Chest wall IMC was lowest for the preparation and initiation and highest for the total execution phase. Despite age-related differences in accuracy, neuromuscular modulation for phase was similar between groups. Conclusion: These results expand our knowledge of speech motor control by demonstrating that IMC is sensitive to phase of speech planning and production.

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Effects of Daily Hand Activities on Age-Related Declines of Dynamic Motor Function in Individual Fingers

Tomoko Aoki and Koji Kadota

The present study examined the effects of daily activities of the hands on finger motor function in older adults. Maximum tapping frequency with each finger during single-finger tapping and alternate movements of index–middle, middle–ring, and ring–little finger pairs during double-finger tapping were compared between older adults who used their hands actively in their daily lives and those who did not. The active participants had significantly faster tapping rates for the ring finger in the single-finger tapping and the middle–ring finger pair in the double-finger tapping than did the inactive participants. Thus, daily activity of the hands in older adults could be effective at preventing the loss of dynamic motor function in individual fingers, especially with greater difficulty in movement, resulting from the degeneration with age.