The degrees of freedom problem in human standing posture: Collective and component dynamics

Zheng Wang, Ji Hyun Ko, John H. Challis, Karl M. Newell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The experiment was setup to investigate the coordination and control of the degrees of freedom (DFs) of human standing posture with particular reference to the identification of the collective and component variables. Subjects stood in 3 postural tasks: feet side by side, single left foot quiet stance and single left foot stance with body rocking at the ankle joint in the sagittal plane. All three postural tasks showed very high coherence (∼1) of center of pressure (COP) - center of mass (COM) in the low frequency range. The ankle and hip coherence was mid range (∼.5) with the tasks having different ankle/hip compensatory cophase patterns. The findings support the view that the in-phase relation of the low frequency components of the COP-COM dynamic is the collective variable in the postural tasks investigated. The motions of the individual joints (ankle, knee, hip, neck) and couplings of pair wise joint synergies (e.g., ankle-hip) provide a supporting cooperative role to the preservation of the collective variable in maintaining the COM within the stability region of the base of support (BOS) and minimizing the amount of body motion consistent with the task constraint.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere85414
JournalPloS one
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 10 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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