Comparison of different state space definitions for local dynamic stability analyses

Deanna H. Gates, Jonathan B. Dingwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Measures of local dynamic stability, such as the local divergence exponent (λs*) quantify how quickly small perturbations deviate from an attractor that defines the motion. When the governing equations of motion are unknown, an attractor can be reconstructed by defining an appropriate state space. However, state space definitions are not unique and accepted methods for defining state spaces have not been established for biomechanical studies. This study first determined how different state space definitions affected λs* for the Lorenz attractor, since exact theoretical values were known a priori. Values of λs* exhibited errors <10% for 7 of the 9 state spaces tested. State spaces containing redundant information performed the poorest. To examine these effects in a biomechanical context, 20 healthy subjects performed a repetitive sawing-like task for 5 min before and after fatigue. Local stability of pre- and post-fatigue shoulder movements was compared for 6 different state space definitions. Here, λs* decreased post-fatigue for all 6 state spaces. Differences were statistically significant for 3 of these state spaces. For state spaces defined using delay embedding, increasing the embedding dimension decreased λs* in both the Lorenz and experimental data. Overall, our findings suggest that direct numerical comparisons between studies that use different state space definitions should be made with caution. However, trends across experimental comparisons appear to persist. Biomechanical state spaces constructed using positions and velocities, or delay reconstruction of individual states, are likely to provide consistent results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1345-1349
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jun 19 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Rehabilitation
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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