Models of postural control: Shared variance in joint and COM motions

Melissa C. Kilby, Peter C.M. Molenaar, Karl M. Newell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


This paper investigated the organization of the postural control system in human upright stance. To this aim the shared variance between joint and 3D total body center of mass (COM) motions was analyzed using multivariate canonical correlation analysis (CCA). The CCA was performed as a function of established models of postural control that varied in their joint degrees of freedom (DOF), namely, an inverted pendulum ankle model (2DOF), ankle-hip model (4DOF), ankle-knee-hip model (5DOF), and ankle-knee-hip-neck model (7DOF). Healthy young adults performed various postural tasks (two-leg and one-leg quiet stances, voluntary AP and ML sway) on a foam and rigid surface of support. Based on CCA model selection procedures, the amount of shared variance between joint and 3D COM motions and the cross-loading patterns we provide direct evidence of the contribution of multi-DOF postural control mechanisms to human balance. The direct model fitting of CCA showed that incrementing the DOFs in the model through to 7DOF was associated with progressively enhanced shared variance with COM motion. In the 7DOF model, the first canonical function revealed more active involvement of all joints during more challenging one leg stances and dynamic posture tasks. Furthermore, the shared variance was enhanced during the dynamic posture conditions, consistent with a reduction of dimension. This set of outcomes shows directly the degeneracy of multivariate joint regulation in postural control that is influenced by stance and surface of support conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0126379
JournalPloS one
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 14 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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