Attentional demands of postural control: The ability to selectively allocate information-processing resources

Ka Chun Siu, Marjorie H. Woollacott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

65 Scopus citations


Most studies have suggested the process of recovering body stability requires information-processing resources, but whether adults have the ability to selectively allocate resources to maintain balance is not known. Using a variable priority dual-task paradigm the present experiment investigated the extent to which young adults are able to shift attention between a postural task and a visual spatial memory task. Our results demonstrated a significant difference in verbal response time dependent on instructional set (focus on visual spatial memory versus postural task) but no difference in body sway measurement, indicating the ability of young adults to modulate visual spatial memory task, but not postural task focus. This suggests the existence of a hierarchy within attentional tasks with postural stability being a priority to stabilize gaze and head position.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-126
Number of pages6
JournalGait and Posture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2007



  • Attention
  • Dual-task paradigm
  • Information-processing
  • Posture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation

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