Attentional Focus can affect Sway in Postural and Supra-postural Tasks in Community-Dwelling Older Adults
Annals of Applied Sport Science
Background. Previous studies have shown that postural stability can be enhanced by directing performers' attention to the effects of their movements (external focus), rather than to the body movements producing the effect (internal focus). Objectives. This study aimed to investigate the effects of attentional focus and a Supra postural task on postural control in older adults. Methods. The study method involved the focus of attention which was manipulated by instructing subjects to hold a glass
... full of water while focusing on either hand or glass. The center of pressure (COP) tests were performed on the participants in the following four conditions: baseline, control, the external focus of attention (EFA), and the internal focus of attention (IFA). Balance assessment and training were conducted using the Biodex Stability System (BSS). Results. Analysis of variance with repeated measures showed that attentional focus affected both the postural and the supra-postural task (p<0.05). Also, the results of independent t-test showed that no significant difference existed between internal-external focus conditions (p<0.05). Conclusion. This study suggests that application of automatic control processes can be facilitated by simply directing performers' attention away from their own movements.