While it has been established that postural control is affected by executive function, research is lacking in identifying if specific executive function components are most responsible or if certain aspects of postural control are more affected than others (e.g., proprioception, vestibular, visual). The current study examined the role of inhibition, processing speed, and visuospatial ability in postural control under conditions affecting visual, proprioceptive, and vestibular sensory input. Cognitive assessments consisted of the Flanker Inhibitory Control and Attention Test, Digit Symbol Substitution Test, Clock Drawing Test, Trail Making Test – Part B, and simple reaction time. Standing Balance was used to assess postural sway. Analyses revealed that average balance was significantly associated with simple reaction time (r(88) = -0.31, p < .01) and the clock drawing test (r(88) = -0.25, p< .05). Further analyses revealed a significantly stronger relationship between pose #1 (eyes opened, firm) and average balance (r(88) = -0.845, p< 0.1) when compared to pose #2 (eyes closed, firm), and pose #3 (eyes opened, foam) and average balance r(88) = -0.8015, p< 0.1) when compared to pose #4 (eyes closed, foam). The significantly stronger relationship between these two measures demonstrates that visual input in both conditions #1 and #3 was associated with better postural control. The findings of this study demonstrate that reaction time and visuospatial abilities are associated with overall postural control in healthy older adults. Results suggest that reaction time should be more thoroughly researched to determine the extent of its influence on EF and physical function.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Suarez, Lara V., "Relationship Between Executive Function and Postural Control" (2019). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 619.