This article uses an anchor metaphor to explain the dynamic interplay between the human body's active uses of nonrigid tools to mediate information about its adjacent environment to enhance postural control. The author used an “anchor” system (e.g., ropes attached to varying weights resting on the floor) to test blindfolded adults who performed a restricted-balance task (30 s one-foot standing). Participants were tested while holding the anchors under a variety of weight conditions (125 g, 250 g, 500 g, and 1 kg) and again during a baseline condition (no anchors). When compared with the baseline condition, there was a significant reduction in the amount of body sway across the anchor conditions. The author found that mechanical support provided by the anchor system was secondary to its haptic exploratory function and that an individual can use the anchoring strategy with a dual purpose: for resting and for reorientation after intrinsic disruptions.
Eliane Mauerberg-deCastro, Renato Moraes and Debra Frances Campbell
We tested the short-term effects of a nonrigid tool, identified as an “anchor system” (e.g., ropes attached to varying weights resting on the floor), on the postural stabilization of blindfolded adults with and without intellectual disabilities (ID). Participants held a pair of anchors–one in each hand, under three weight conditions (250 g, 500 g and 1,000 g), while they performed a restricted balance task (standing for 30 s on a balance beam placed on top of a force platform). These conditions were called anchor practice trials. Before and after the practice trials, a condition without anchors was tested. Control practice groups, who practiced blocks of trials without anchors, included individuals with and without ID. The anchor system improved subjects’ balance during the standing task, for both groups. For the control groups, the performance of successive trials in the condition without the anchor system showed no improvement in postural stability. The individuals with intellectual disability, as well as their peers without ID, used the haptic cues of nonrigid tools (i.e., the anchor system) to stabilize their posture, and the short-term stabilizing effects appeared to result from their previous use of the anchor system.
Eliane Mauerberg-deCastro, Carmila Souza Lucena, Bruna W. Cuba, Rosana C. Boni, Debra Frances Campbell and Renato Moraes
This study assessed the effects of haptic information on the postural control systems of individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID), through the use of a nonrigid tool that we call the “anchor system” (e.g., ropes attached to graduated weights that rest on the floor). Eleven participants with ID were asked to stand, blindfolded, on a balance beam placed at two heights (10 and 20 cm), for 30 s, while using the anchor system at two weights. The lighter anchor weight appeared to improve the individuals’ balance in contrast to a control task condition; therefore, we concluded that haptic sensitivity was more significant in helping to orient the body than was the anchor’s mechanical support alone.