Sensorimotor integration for multisegmental frontal plane balance control in humans

Adam D. Goodworth, Robert J. Peterka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


To quantify the contribution of sensory information to multisegmental frontal plane balance control in humans, we developed a feedback control model to account for experimental data. Subjects stood with feet close together on a surface that rotated according to a pseudorandom waveform at three different amplitudes. Experimental frequency-response functions and impulse-response functions were measured to characterize lower body (LB) and upper body (UB) motion evoked during surface rotations while subjects stood with eyes open or closed. The model assumed that corrective torques in LB and UB segments were generated with no time delay from intrinsic musculoskeletal mechanisms and with time delay from sensory feedback mechanisms. It was found that subjects' LB control was primarily based on sensory feedback. Changes in the LB control mechanisms across stimulus amplitude were consistent with the hypothesis that sensory reweighting contributed to amplitude-dependent changes in balance responses whereby subjects decreased reliance on proprioceptive cues that oriented the LB toward the surface and increased reliance on vestibular/visual cues that oriented the LB upright toward earth vertical as stimulus amplitude increased in both eyes open and closed conditions. Sensory reweight-ing in the LB control system also accounted for most of the amplitude-dependent changes observed in UB responses. In contrast to the LB system, sensory reweighting was not a dominant mechanism of UB control, and UB control was more influenced by intrinsic musculosk-eletal mechanisms. The proposed model refines our understanding of sensorimotor integration during balance control by including multi-segmental motion and explaining how intersegmental interactions influence frontal plane balance responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-28
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Feedback control model
  • Sensory reweighting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Physiology


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