Age-related reversal of postural adjustment characteristics during motor imagery

Mitra, S. ORCID: 0000-0001-7620-4809, Doherty, N., Boulton, H. ORCID: 0000-0003-1919-9243 and Maylor, E.A.M., 2016. Age-related reversal of postural adjustment characteristics during motor imagery. Psychology and Aging, 31 (8), pp. 958-969. ISSN 0882-7974

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Physical and imagined movements show similar behavioral constraints and neurophysiological activation patterns. An inhibition mechanism is thought to suppress overt movement during m otor imagery, but it does not effectively suppress autonomic or postural adjustments. Inhibitory processes and postural stability both deteriorate with age. Thus, older people’s balance is potentially vulnerable to interference from postural adjustments in duced by thoughts about past or future actions. Here, young and older adults stood upright and executed or imagined manual reaching movements. Reported arm movement time (MT) of all participants increased with target distance. Older participants reported longer MT than young participants when executing arm movements, but not when imagining them. Older adults’ anteroposterior (AP) and mediolateral (ML) postural sway was higher than young adults’ at baseline, but their AP sway fell below their baseline level during manual imagery. In contrast, young adults’ AP sway increased during imagery relative to their baseline. A similar tendency to reduce sway in the ML direction was also observed in older adults during imagery in a challenging stance. These results suggest that postural response during manual motor imagery reverses direction with age. Motor imagery and action planning are ubiquitous tasks, and older people are likely to spend more time engaged in them. The shift toward restricting body sway during these tasks is akin to a postural threat response with the potential to interfere with balance during activities of daily living.

Item Type: Journal article
Alternative Title: Postural adjustments during motor imagery [running head]
Publication Title: Psychology and Aging
Creators: Mitra, S., Doherty, N., Boulton, H. and Maylor, E.A.M.
Publisher: American Psychological Association
Date: 31 December 2016
Volume: 31
Number: 8
ISSN: 0882-7974
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 20 Jul 2016 10:52
Last Modified: 21 Aug 2020 10:17

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