Influence of threat and attention on postural control

This study investigated the influence of a cognitive spatial task, vibratory stimulation and a threat-instruction on postural control. 40 adults (mean age = 25.8 +/- 4.4 years) stood quietly on a force platform with their eyes closed during 24 trials. At each trial the test-subjects received vibratory stimulation at 0 Hz-, 60 Hz- or 100 Hz. During half of the trials the participant was instructed to do a cognitive task. They were also told to rate how much their balance was affected. Half of the group was given a threat-instruction. During all the trials heart rate and skin-conduction was measured. The result showed that postural control was negatively affected by vibratory stimulation and positively affected by the cognitive task. The result on the cognitive task showed no main effects. It is concluded that the participants prioritised the cognitive task and that the threat-instruction wasn't scary enough.