Standing posture on land and at sea

Thomas Stoffregen, Sebastien Villard, Fu Chen Chen, Yawen Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


We studied the influence of ship motion on postural activity during stance, varying stance width (the distance between the feet in side-by-side stance) and the difficulty of visual tasks. Participants (experienced crewmembers) were tested on land and then on successive days on a ship at sea in mild sea states. On land, we replicated classical effects of stance width and visual task on the magnitude of postural movement. The magnitude of forces used in postural control was greater at sea than on land. Visual performance at sea was comparable to performance on land. Both stance width and visual task difficulty influenced postural activity at sea. In addition, postural activity changed over days at sea. We conclude that experienced crewmembers modulated standing posture in support of the performance of visual tasks and that such effects occurred even in mild sea states. The overall pattern of effects is compatible with the hypothesis that postural activity is modulated, in part, in support of the performance of suprapostural tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-36
Number of pages18
JournalEcological Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011


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