Organization of voluntary stepping in response to emotion-inducing pictures

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    The present experiment was conducted to examine the expectation that emotion stimuli influence the initiation and execution of voluntary stepping, a highly coordinated activity involving a sequence of medio-lateral and anterio-posterior weight shifts. Thirty participants made forward (approach) or backward (avoidance) steps on a forceplate in response to the valence of visual stimuli. Posturographic parameters of the steps, related to automatic stimulus evaluation, step initiation and step execution, were determined and analyzed as a function of stimulus valence and stimulus-response mapping. The results revealed marked effects of emotion on the step parameters of interest; unpleasant images caused an initial " freezing" response, and a tendency to move away from the stimuli. Pleasant stimuli, in contrast, were not found to induce approach tendencies. The results demonstrated that affect, especially negative emotions, and whole-body movements such as voluntary stepping are coupled. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)164-168
    Number of pages5
    JournalGait and Posture
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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