Center-of-pressure regularity as a marker for attentional investment in postural control: a comparison between sitting and standing postures
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Postural control is a highly automatized basic activity that requires limited attentional investments. These investments have been shown to increase from balancing experts to controls, and from controls to persons with impaired postural control. Such between-subject comparisons led to a proposed direct relation between the regularity of center-of-pressure (COP) fluctuations and the amount of attention invested in posture. This study aims to expand this relation to a within-subject comparison of conditions that differ in balance demands. Specifically, more regular COP fluctuations were expected for standing than sitting, as stimulus–response reaction-time studies showed that the required attentional demands are lower for sitting than standing. COP registrations were made for fifteen healthy young adults in seated and standing postures. COP regularity was quantified with sample entropy. As expected, COP fluctuations were found to be more regular for standing than sitting, as evidenced by significantly lower sample entropy values. These findings expand the relation between COP regularity and the amount of attention invested in posture to postural tasks that vary in balance demands. An assessment of COP regularity may thus not only be instrumental in the examination of attentional investment in posture in between-subject designs, but also for different postures in within-subjects designs.