Distality of attentional focus and its role in postural balance control

  • The role of attentional focusing in motor tasks has been highlighted frequently. The “internal–external” dimension has emerged, but also the spatial distance between body and attended location. In two experiments, an extended attentional focus paradigm was introduced to investigate distality effects of attentional foci on balance performance. First, the distality of the coordinates of the point of focus was varied between a proximal and distal position on an artificial tool attached to the body. Second, the distance of the displayed effect on the wall was varied between a 2.5 and 5 m condition. Subjects were instructed to focus on controlling either a proximal or distal spot on a tool attached to their head, represented by two laser pointers. Subsequently, they needed to visually track their own body-movement effect of one of the laser pointers at a wall while completing various single leg stance tasks. Center of pressure (COP) sway was analyzed using a linear method (classic sway variables) as well as a nonlinear method (multiscale entropy). In addition, laser trajectories were videotaped and served as additional performance outcome measure. Experiment 1 revealed differences in balance performance under proximal compared to distal attentional focus conditions. Moreover, experiment 2 yielded differences in balance-related sway measures and laser data between the 2.5 and 5 m condition of the visually observable movement effect. In conclusion, varying the distality of the point of focus between proximal and distal impacted balance performance. However, this effect was not consistent across all balance tasks. Relevantly, the distality of the movement effect shows a significant effect on balance plus laser performance with advantages in more distal conditions. This research emphasizes the importance of the spatial distality of movement effects for human behavior.

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Author:Christian Kupper, Karen Roemer, Elizabeth Jusko, Karen ZentgrafORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Frontiers in psychology
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
Place of publication:Lausanne
Editor:Ana-Maria Cebolla
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2020/02/21
Date of first Publication:2020/02/21
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2020/03/05
Tag:attentional focus; balance; distality; multiscale entropy; postural control; sway analysis
Issue:article 125
Page Number:14
First Page:1
Last Page:14
Institutes:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften / Sportwissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
7 Künste und Unterhaltung / 79 Sport, Spiele, Unterhaltung / 790 Freizeitgestaltung, darstellende Künste, Sport
Open-Access-Publikationsfonds:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0