Postural stability have been the focus of a number of studies on fall prevention and sports, with an emphasis on walking dynamics1 . Fewer studies have aimed at understanding the influence of sound stimuli in standing posture sway 2.
Although the vestibular system plays a fundamental role in the control of postural stability, it has also been shown to be key in embodied cognition processes 3. It is in part through the vestibular system that music activates motor areas in the brain to induce movement, while body movement enhances the cognitive processing of sound and music 3.
This study explored the influence of music on postural control by measuring synchronization between body center of mass (COM) sway with music.
8 women (32 ± 4.39 years, 1.73 ± 0.04 m, mean ± SD), and 6 men (29.67 ± 4.63 years, 1.81 ± 0.04 m) participated in the study. Participants were asked to stand still for 6 minutes as they were presented with alternating segments of silence and music. COM movements were measured from the position of a passive marker placed in the midline of the sacrum, recorded using an infrared motion capture system. Radial and vertical COM movements were cross-correlated with the pulse clarity, RMS, and spectral centroid of the stimuli.
Paired samples t-test revealed differences in COM radial and vertical sway between silent and music conditions to be significant at the 0.05 level.
A repeated measures ANOVA showed a significant effect of the stimuli on COM sway (p < 0.05).
The effect of the stimuli on the lag of maximum cross-correlation (delay) between COM radial sway and RMS was shown to be significant (p < 0.05). Differences in delay between pulse clarity and COM vertical sway were significant between stimuli (p < 0.05 ).
Results suggest that the effect of loudness in music-induced postural sway might be predominant in the radial plane, with anticipatory behavior observed for low RMS stimuli.
Vertical sway synchronization patterns suggest anticipatory vertical motion to music spectral centroid.
A more robust understanding of a range of music features and their links with induced movement could lead to insight into the role of the vestibular and sensory systems in balance control.
1 Cimolin, V., Galli, M. (2014). Summary measures for clinical gait analysis: A literature review. Gait & Posture 39, 1005-1010.
2 Ross, J. M., Warlaumont, A. S., Abney, D. H., Rigoli, L. M., and Balasubramaniam, R. (2016). Influence of musical groove on postural sway. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance Advance online publication.
3 Todd, N. P. (1999). Motion in music: A neurobiological perspective. Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal 17, 115–126.