Age-related asymmetry in anticipatory postural movements during unilateral arm movement and imagery

Wider, C. ORCID: 0000-0001-8531-1024, Mitra, S. ORCID: 0000-0001-7620-4809, Boulton, H. ORCID: 0000-0003-1919-9243 and Andrews, M. ORCID: 0000-0001-7499-9521, 2022. Age-related asymmetry in anticipatory postural movements during unilateral arm movement and imagery. Experimental Brain Research. ISSN 0014-4819

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Reaching movements of the arms are accompanied by anticipatory (APM) and compensatory postural motion (CPM) that counteract the resulting perturbations to body stability. Recent research has shown that these postural actions are also observable in the context of imagined arm movements. As motor imagery (MI) shares many neurophysiological and behavioral characteristics with physical movements, and MI training can affect subsequent performance, MI tasks provide a good setting for studying the anticipatory aspects of postural control. This study investigated APMs and CPMs of the head and hip of healthy young and older adults in the temporal vicinity of physical and imagined forward raises of the dominant and non-dominant arm. When MI of the dominant arm was self-initiated, both age groups showed APM in the anteroposterior plane. When the self-initiated MI was of the non-dominant arm, only the older group showed anteroposterior APM. The older group did not show APM when an expected arm movement (or MI) was made to an external signal. This suggests an age-related deficit in coordinating postural preparation with external events. Only the older group showed mediolateral APM, and only for dominant arm MI, indicating sensitivity to potential perturbation to the weaker, non-dominant side of the body. Overall, the older group showed more anticipatory postural motion at the head. Systematic APM for manual MI suggests that MI training may be an effective intervention for anticipatory postural control. An integrated model of postural support for executed and imagined limb movements is suggested.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Experimental Brain Research
Creators: Wider, C., Mitra, S., Boulton, H. and Andrews, M.
Publisher: Springer
Date: 5 August 2022
ISSN: 0014-4819
Rights: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 12 Aug 2022 15:52
Last Modified: 12 Aug 2022 15:52

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