Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 237, Issue 2, pp 547–555 | Cite as

Attentional cost in additional visual feedback protocols in healthy young subjects

  • Patrice R. RougierEmail author
  • Paul-Henri Fleury
  • Baptiste Tollenaere
Research Article


Additional visual feedback (VFB) is a technique allowing improved postural stability in young healthy individuals despite an increased muscular activity, the two trends being assessed through center-of-gravity (CGv) and differences between CGv and center-of-pressure (CP) movements (CP–CGv), respectively. These two opposing effects are likely explained by the respective contribution of automatic and voluntary controls and in turn the neural circuits involved. To specify these specific contributions, a dual-task protocol was set up, consisting in adding to VFB a navigation task performed at the maximum cognitive capacities of the subjects who were evaluated beforehand. Overall, the protocol comprises six conditions: three visual tasks (eyes open without VFB, VFBBW based on body-weight distribution, VFBCP based on CP displacements) associated with or without a cognitive task. Variances of CP–CGv and CGv movements, along the mediolateral (ML) and anteroposterior (AP) axes, and parameters from fractional Brownian motion modeling (transition point coordinates and scaling regimes to assess the level of deterministic or stochastic activity) were used to assess the postural behaviors. The results show that during VFBCP, the dual tasks protocol infers a decreased contribution of deterministic activity in CP–CGv movements, inducing decreased variances, and alters the correction of the CGv over the longest Δt but nonetheless without changing CGv variances. Disturbing the subject’s attention during the VFBBW condition induces decreased CP–CGv and CGv movements along the ML and AP axes, respectively. These data demonstrate the high level of attention induced by VFB protocols. If the tonic postural activity, expressed through CP–CGv movements, decreases whatever VFB condition along both the ML and AP axes, the effects on CGv movement appear to be mostly related to the additional information (BW or CP) provided. Overall, if too much voluntary control in upright stance maintenance is detrimental for the magnitudes of the CP–CGv movements, it appears beneficial for those of the CGv movements. By emphasizing the role of automatic and voluntary controls in VFB protocols, these insights document the neural circuits involved in such protocols and specify their conditions of use.


Upright stance control Healthy subjects Additional visual feedback Attention Center-of-pressure Center-of-gravity Cognitive dual-task Fractional Brownian motion modeling 



The authors are pleased to thank L. Northrup and C. Rougier for editing the text.


This research did not receive any specific Grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no competing financial interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrice R. Rougier
    • 1
    Email author
  • Paul-Henri Fleury
    • 1
  • Baptiste Tollenaere
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire de Biologie de la Motricité, EA 7424Université de Savoie-Mont-BlancLe Bourget du Lac cedexFrance

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