Psychological Research

, Volume 71, Issue 2, pp 192–200 | Cite as

How attentional focus on body sway affects postural control during quiet standing

  • Nicolas VuillermeEmail author
  • Gilel Nafati
Original Article


The purpose of this study was to investigate how attentional focus on body sway affects postural control during quiet standing. To address this issue, sixteen young healthy adults were asked to stand upright as immobile as possible on a force platform in both Control and Attention conditions. In the latter condition, participants were instructed to deliberately focus their attention on their body sways and to increase their active intervention into postural control. The critical analysis was focused on elementary motions computed from the centre of pressure (CoP) trajectories: (1) the vertical projection of the centre of gravity (CoGv) and (2) the difference between CoP and CoGv (CoP–CoGv). The former is recognised as an index of performance in this postural task, whilst the latter constitutes a fair expression of the ankle joint stiffness and is linked to the level of neuromuscular activity of the lower limb muscles required for controlling posture. A frequency-domain analysis showed increased amplitudes and frequencies of CoP–CoGv motions in the Attention relative to the Control condition, whereas non-significant changes were observed for the CoGv motions. Altogether, the present findings suggest that attentional focus on body sway, induced by the instructions, promoted the use of less automatic control process and hampered the efficiency for controlling posture during quiet standing.


Postural Control Attentional Focus Attention Condition Postural Task Quiet Standing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to thank R. A. Bianchi for technical assistance and A. Schmied and Ch. Rossi-Durand for helpful comments and suggestions. Special thanks also are extended to Jeff B. and Christelle B. for various contributions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire de Modélisation des Activités SportivesUniversité de SavoieLe Bourget du Lac cedexFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire TIMC-IMAGUMR CNRS 5525, Equipe AFIRMGrenobleFrance
  3. 3.Laboratoire de Plasticité et PhysioPathologie de la MotricitéUMR 6196, CNRS/Université de la MéditerranéeMéditerranéeFrance

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