Postural sway and gaze can track the complex motion of a visual target

Vassilia Hatzitaki, Nicholas Stergiou, George Sofianidis, Anastasia Kyvelidou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Variability is an inherent and important feature of human movement. This variability has form exhibiting a chaotic structure. Visual feedback training using regular predictive visual target motions does not take into account this essential characteristic of the human movement, and may result in task specific learning and loss of visuo-motor adaptability. In this study, we asked how well healthy young adults can track visual target cues of varying degree of complexity during whole-body swaying in the Anterior-Posterior (AP) and Medio-Lateral (ML) direction. Participants were asked to track three visual target motions: a complex (Lorenz attractor), a noise (brown) and a periodic (sine) moving target while receiving online visual feedback about their performance. Postural sway, gaze and target motion were synchronously recorded and the degree of force-target and gaze-target coupling was quantified using spectral coherence and Cross-Approximate entropy. Analysis revealed that both force-target and gaze-target coupling was sensitive to the complexity of the visual stimuli motions. Postural sway showed a higher degree of coherence with the Lorenz attractor than the brown noise or sinusoidal stimulus motion. Similarly, gaze was more synchronous with the Lorenz attractor than the brown noise and sinusoidal stimulus motion. These results were similar regardless of whether tracking was performed in the AP or ML direction. Based on the theoretical model of optimal movement variability tracking of a complex signal may provide a better stimulus to improve visuo-motor adaptation and learning in postural control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0119828
JournalPloS one
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 16 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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