Does calculating impair postural stabilization allowed by visual cues?

Hadrien Ceyte*, Alexis Lion, Sébastien Caudron, Badreddine Kriem, Philippe P. Perrin, Gérome C. Gauchard

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    28 Citations (Scopus)


    In many daily situations, balance control is associated with a cognitive activity such as reading or a simple calculation. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between these two specific human activities, especially the influence of visual cues and support surface stability on body sway during a calculation task. A Sensory Organization Test, which can disrupt or suppress sensory inputs, was performed on 71 healthy young adults. The evaluations were performed both with and without mental arithmetic tasks which consisted of backward counting by three or thirteen. Our results showed that the addition of a calculation task induced an increase in body sway only when visual cues were available. They also showed the same instability effect of the support surface on the amount of body sway no matter what the associated cognitive task was. Moreover, no difference in body sway was observed between the two calculation tasks no matter what the visual context and/or the stability of the support surface were. We suggest that focusing on fulfilling the requirements of the mental calculation challenge may be responsible for the increase in body sway. This increase may be related to the use of oculomotor activity as unintentional attempts to increase arousal by self-generated body movement. Thus, this activity facilitates information processing rather than minimizing unbalance by a visual anchor point.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2221-2228
    Number of pages8
    JournalExperimental Brain Research
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


    • Balance control
    • Body sway
    • Calculation
    • Cognition
    • Visual cues


    Dive into the research topics of 'Does calculating impair postural stabilization allowed by visual cues?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this