How is precision regulated in maintaining trunk posture?

N.W. Willigenburg, I. Kingma, J.H. van Dieen

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    Precision of limb control is associated with increased joint stiffness caused by antagonistic co-activation. The aim of this study was to examine whether this strategy also applies to precision of trunk postural control. To this end, thirteen subjects performed static postural tasks, aiming at a target object with a cursor that responded to 2D trunk angles. By manipulating target dimensions, different levels of precision were imposed in the frontal and sagittal planes. Trunk angle and electromyography (EMG) of abdominal and back muscles were recorded. Repeated measures ANOVAs revealed significant effects of target dimensions on kinematic variability in both movement planes. Specifically, standard deviation (SD) of trunk angle decreased significantly when target size in the same direction decreased, regardless of the precision demands in the other direction. Thus, precision control of trunk posture was directionally specific. However, no consistent effect of precision demands was found on trunk muscle activity, when averaged over time series. Therefore, it was concluded that stiffness regulation by antagonistic co-activation was not used to meet increased precision demands in trunk postural control. Instead, results from additional analyses suggest that precision of trunk angle was controlled in a feedback mode. © 2010 The Author(s).
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)39-49
    JournalExperimental Brain Research
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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