Long latency postural responses are functionally modified by cognitive set

D. J. Beckley, B. R. Bloem, M. P. Remler, R. A C Roos, J. G. Van Dijk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


We examined how cognitive set influences the long latency components of normal postural responses in the legs. We disturbed the postural stability of standing human subjects with sudden toe-up ankle rotations. To influence the subjects' cognitive set, we varied the rotation amplitude either predictably (serial 4° versus serial 10°) or unpredictably (random mixture of 4° and 10°). The subjects' responses to these ankle rotations were assessed from the EMG activity of the tibialis anterior, the medial gastrocnemius, and the vastus lateralis muscles of the left leg. The results indicate that, when the rotation amplitude is predictable, only the amplitude of the long latency (LL) response in tibialis anterior and vastus lateralis varied directly with perturbation size. Furthermore, when the rotation amplitude is unpredictable, the central nervous system selects a default amplitude for the LL response in the tibialis anterior. When normal subjects are exposed to 2 pertubation amplitudes which include the potential risk of falling, the default LL response in tibialis anterior appropriately anticipates the larger amplitude perturbation rather than the smaller or an intermediate one.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-358
Number of pages6
JournalElectroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology/ Evoked Potentials
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1991


  • Balance
  • Cognitive set
  • EMG
  • Long-latency
  • Motor control
  • Posture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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