The distance of visual targets affects the spatial magnitude and multifractal scaling of standing body sway in younger and older adults

Justin Munafo, Christopher Curry, Michael G. Wade, Thomas A. Stoffregen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

The spatial magnitude of standing body sway is greater during viewing of more distant targets and reduced when viewing nearby targets. Classical interpretations of this effect are based on the projective geometry of changes in visual stimulation that are brought about by body sway. Such explanations do not motivate predictions about the temporal dynamics of body sway. We asked whether the distance of visible targets would affect both the spatial magnitude and the multifractality of standing body sway. It has been suggested that the multifractality of movement may change with age. Separately, previous research has not addressed the effects of target distance on postural sway in older adults. For these reasons, we crossed our variation in target distance with variation in age. In an open-air setting, we measured standing body sway in younger and older adults while looking at visual targets that were placed at three distances. The distance of visual targets affected the spatial magnitude of body sway in younger adults, replicating past studies. Target distance also affected the spatial magnitude of sway in older adults, confirming that this relation persists despite other age-related changes. Target distance also affected the multifractality of body sway, but this effect was modulated by age. Finally, the width of the multifractal spectrum was greater for older adults than for younger adults, revealing that healthy aging can affect the multifractality of movement. These findings reveal similarities and differences between the spatial magnitude and the multifractality of human movement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2721-2730
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Volume234
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Justin Munafo’s participation was supported by a fellowship from the University of Minnesota Diversity of Views and Experience program. Additional support was provided by a Grant in Aid of Research from the University of Minnesota. We thank Anne Holt and Phil Platt of the University of Minnesota Campus Club, and Damian Kelty-Stephen, for assistance with the use of MF-DFA.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Posture
  • Visual performance

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