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ERIC Number: EJ1012431
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0270-1367
Effects of Attentional Focus and Age on Suprapostural Task Performance and Postural Control
McNevin, Nancy; Weir, Patricia; Quinn, Tiffany
Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, v84 n1 p96-103 2013
Purpose: Suprapostural task performance (manual tracking) and postural control (sway and frequency) were examined as a function of attentional focus, age, and tracking difficulty. Given the performance benefits often found under external focus conditions, it was hypothesized that external focus instructions would promote superior tracking and reduced postural sway for both age groups, most notably as a function of tracking difficulty. Method: Postural sway, frequency of postural adjustments, and tracking accuracy under two levels of task difficulty were assessed for younger ("M"[subscript age] = 20.98 years) and older ("M"[subscript age] = 70.80 years) participants while they manually tracked a pursuit-rotor target. Participants received instructions to focus on either their actions (internal focus) or the effect of their actions (external focus). Results: Analyses revealed a beneficial effect of an external focus on suprapostural performance on the less-difficult (0.5 Hz) tracking task, and this performance was associated with a modest improvement in medial-lateral postural sway. Conclusion: The findings offer limited support for external focus-of-attention benefits under a mildly challenging tracking task. While older adults tend to adopt a conservative postural control strategy regardless of tracking task difficulty, external focus instructions on a suprapostural task promoted a modest, beneficial shift in postural control. (Contains 5 figures.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada