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Directional Specificity of Postural Threat on Anticipatory Postural Adjustments during Lateral Leg Raising

Abstract : This study explored the directional specificity of fear of falling (FoF) effects on the stabilizing function of anticipatory postural adjustments (APA). Participants (N = 71) performed a series of lateral leg raises from an elevated surface in three conditions: in the "Control condition", participants stood at the middle of the surface; in the two test conditions, participants were positioned at the lateral edge of the surface so that the shift of the whole-body centre-of-mass during APA for leg raising was directed towards the edge ("Approach condition") or was directed away from the edge ("Avoidance condition"). Results showed that the amplitude of APA was lower in the "Approach condition" than in the "Control condition" (p < .01); this reduction was compensated for by an increase in APA duration (p < .05), so that both postural stability and motor performance (in terms of peak leg velocity, final leg posture and movement duration) remained unchanged. These changes in APA parameters were not present in the "Avoidance condition". Participants further self-reported a greater FoF (p < .001) and a lower ability to avoid a fall (p < .001) in the "Approach condition" (but not in the "Avoidance condition") than in the "Control condition". The results of this study show that the effects of FoF do not solely depend on initial environmental conditions, but also on the direction of APA relative to the location of the postural threat. These results support the so-called Motivational Direction Hypothesis, according to which approach and avoidance behaviours are primed by emotional state.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, February 14, 2017 - 4:17:50 PM
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Manon Gendre, Eric Yiou, Thierry Gélat, Jean-Louis Honeine, Thomas Deroche. Directional Specificity of Postural Threat on Anticipatory Postural Adjustments during Lateral Leg Raising. Experimental Brain Research, Springer Verlag, 2016, 234 (3), pp.659-671. ⟨10.1007/s00221-015-4471-x⟩. ⟨hal-01467685⟩



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