Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 222, Issue 3, pp 229–239 | Cite as

How visual information links to multijoint coordination during quiet standing

  • J. P. Scholz
  • E. Park
  • J. J. Jeka
  • G. Schöner
  • T. Kiemel
Research Article


The link between visual information and postural control was investigated based on a multi-degree-of-freedom model using the framework of the uncontrolled manifold (UCM) hypothesis. The hypothesis was that because visual information specifies the position of the body in space, it would couple preferentially into those combinations of degrees of freedom (DOFs) that move the body in space and not into combinations of DOFs that do not move the body in space. Subjects stood quietly in a virtual reality cave for 4-min trials with or without a 0.2, 2.0 Hz, or combined 0.2 and 2.0 Hz visual field perturbation that was below perceptual threshold. Motion analysis was used to compute six sagittal plane joint angles. Variance across time of the angular motion was partitioned into (1) variance associated with motion of the body and (2) variance reflecting the use of flexible joint combinations that keep the anterior–posterior positions of the head (HDPOS) and center of mass (CMPOS) invariant. UCM analysis was performed in the frequency domain in order to link the sensory perturbation to each variance component at different frequencies. As predicted, variance related to motion of the body was selectively increased at the 0.2-Hz drive frequency but not at other frequencies of sway for both CMPOS and HDPOS. The dominant effect with the 2.0-Hz visual drive also was limited largely to variance related to motion of the body.


Visual perception Multijoint coordination Uncontrolled manifold Posture 



This research was supported by the Grant 0957920, awarded to John Scholz and John Jeka from the National Science Foundation and Grant Scho336/7-1 from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft awarded to Gregor Schöner.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. P. Scholz
    • 1
    • 2
  • E. Park
    • 1
  • J. J. Jeka
    • 3
  • G. Schöner
    • 4
  • T. Kiemel
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Physical Therapy, 307 McKinly LaboratoryUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA
  2. 2.Biomechanics and Movement Science ProgramUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA
  3. 3.Department of KinesiologyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  4. 4.Institut für NeuroinformatikRuhr-UniversityBochumGermany

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