Movement variability emerges in gait as adaptation to task constraints in dynamic environments

CABALLERO, Carla, DAVIDS, Keith, HELLER, Ben, WHEAT, Jonathan and MORENO, Francisco J (2019). Movement variability emerges in gait as adaptation to task constraints in dynamic environments. Gait and posture, 70, 1-5.

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Background: Motor variability has been related to motor control playing a functional role in human adaptive behaviours. However, the direction of the relationship between variability and motor control can be unclear. The specific relations that exist between task constraints and movement (re)organization could explain some of this controversy. Research question: This study sought to understand whether manipulation of task constraints result in changes in the magnitude or structure of motor system variability observed in a basic walking task. We also investigated the relationship between performance in achieving task goals and the structure of motor variability. Methods: Twenty volunteers walked around a circular track with binary combinations of 3 task constraints, providing 8 conditions. The manipulated task constraints were: 1) track width; 2) surface stiffness; and 3), walking direction. Performance was analysed using standard deviation (SD) of sacral displacement and its mean velocity (MV). Fuzzy Entropy (FE) and Detrended Fluctuation Analysis (DFA) were used to assess the kinematic variability structure. Results: Individuals showed lower SD and MV walking on the narrower track. These changes were also followed by higher DFA values, indicating a more auto-correlated structure of variability. The foam surface was also associated with an increase in amplitude, velocity and irregularity (FE) of movement. Significance: Results of this study describe how specific task constraints, such as the width of the walking track and the surface stiffness, shape emergent movement coordination patterns as participants search for functional information from the environment to regulate performance behaviors. Changes in variability structure could reveal the search for adaptive strategies during walking. Smaller movement fluctuations and higher velocity in gait patterns are related to greater irregularity and lower autocorrelation in the kinematic variability structure, demonstrating that a specific relationship emerges between system variability and movement performance, which is driven by task constraints.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Adaptation; Dynamic balance; Motor variability; Nonlinear analyses; Task constraints; 1103 Clinical Sciences; 1106 Human Movement And Sports Science; 0913 Mechanical Engineering; Orthopedics
Identification Number:
Page Range: 1-5
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2019 14:34
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 02:46

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