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Posture And Central And Peripheral Vision
The functional role of central and peripheral vision in the control of posture by Berencsi A, Ishihara M, Imanaka K.
Department of Kinesiology, Tokyo Metropolitan University, 1-1 Minami-Ohsawa, Hachioji, Tokyo 192-0397, Japan; National Institute for Medical Rehabilitation, Budapest, Hungary.
Three experiments were conducted to investigate the role of central and peripheral vision (CV and PV) in postural control. In Experiment 1, either the central or peripheral visual field were selectively stimulated using a circular random dot pattern that was either static or alternated at 5Hz. Center of foot pressure (CoP) was used to examine postural sway during quiet standing under both CV and PV conditions.
The results showed that, when the visual stimulus was presented in the periphery, the CoP area decreased and more so in the anterior-posterior (AP) than in the medio-lateral (ML) direction, indicating a characteristic directional specificity. There was no significant difference between the static and dynamic (alternating) conditions.
Experiment 2 investigated the directional specificity of body sway found in Experiment 1 by having the trunk either be faced toward the stimulus display or perpendicularly to it, with the head always facing the display. The results showed that the stabilizing effect of peripheral vision was present in the direction of stimulus observation (i.e., the head/gaze direction), irrespective of trunk orientation. This suggested that head/gaze direction toward the stimulus presentation, rather than a biomechanical factor like greater mobility of the ankle joint in AP direction than in ML direction, was essential to postural stability.
Experiment 3 further examined whether the stabilizing effect of peripheral vision found in Experiments 1 and 2 was caused because more dots (500) were presented as visual cues to the peripheral visual field than to the central visual field (20 dots) by presenting the same number of dots (20) in both conditions. It was found that, in spite of the equal number of dots, the postural sway amplitudes were larger for the central vision conditions than for the peripheral vision conditions. In conclusion, the present study showed that peripheral rather than central vision contributes to maintaining a stable standing posture, with postural sway being influenced more in the direction of stimulus observation, or head/gaze direction, than in the direction of trunk orientation, which suggests that peripheral vision operates primarily in a viewer-centered frame of reference characterized by the head/gaze direction rather than in a body-centered frame of reference characterized by the anatomical planes of the body.
Source PMID: 16337294 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Full Text: Hum Mov Sci. 2005 Oct-Dec;24(5-6):689-709. Epub 2005 Dec 6.