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Desired orientation

Central nervous system

Figure 8.2. Contemporary model of postural control that outlines how balance responses may be selected and adapted. See text for details (adapted from Merfeld et al., 1993).

such that estimated orientation more closely approaches actual orientation. External, as well as self-initiated postural disturbances cause changes in afferent signals and these, too, drive change in the internal model of body dynamics, resulting in implementation of a more efficient and effective postural control strategy to regain the desired orientation. This type of model explains how postural strategies can be rapid, and somewhat stereotyped, although they are constantly being improved based on prior experience and knowledge of results. This model also assumes that sensory information is integrated by the nervous system to form an internal representation of the body and world that is used for both perception of postural orientation as well as for automatic control of posture (Mergner et al., 2003).

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