Postural control in emotional states: an effect of biofeedback
Background Emotional states in the short term and affective impairments, such as anxiety and depression in the long run, can have a significant impact on postural control. Individuals with these conditions often struggle with maintaining balance during emotionally charged situations, which can increase their risk of falls and injuries. Biofeedback has been proposed as a potential intervention to improve postural control during emotional induction. Research question How do emotional stimuli affect postural control performance in the presence of realtime postural feedback? Methods Forty-two participants took part in the study. The visual stimuli used in the experiment to induce emotions of various valence in the subjects were video clips, containing a series of pictures (24 positive, 24 neutral and 24 negative pictures). During the experiment, participants were required to maintain balance standing on a force platform while watching the videos on a computer screen. For each subject, three sessions of 480s were generated, each of which included two conditions: with and without biofeedback (a target on the screen indicating the subject’s position relative to the center of pressure (COP). Results The No Feedback condition provoked a higher medial-lateral and anterior-posterior sway, but lower speed of COP than the Feedback condition. We didn’t find any effect of the valence of emotional videos on indicators of postural control in No Feedback condition. However, in the Feedback condition, both unpleasant and pleasant videos provoked a lower speed of COP in comparison to neutral videos in the Feedback condition. Significance Сhanges observed in postural control during the Feedback condition in the presence of emotional stimuli (both negative and positive) could be explained by the shift in attention from the task of maintaining posture to the emotional videos. The results of this study have important implications for clinicians involved in postural training and rehabilitation.