A Correlation-Based Framework for Evaluating Postural Control Stochastic Dynamics

Manuel E. Hernandez, Joseph Snider, Cory Stevenson, Gert Cauwenberghs, Howard Poizner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The inability to maintain balance during varying postural control conditions can lead to falls, a significant cause of mortality and serious injury among older adults. However, our understanding of the underlying dynamical and stochastic processes in human postural control have not been fully explored. To further our understanding of the underlying dynamical processes, we examine a novel conceptual framework for studying human postural control using the center of pressure (COP) velocity autocorrelation function (COP-VAF) and compare its results to Stabilogram Diffusion Analysis (SDA). Eleven healthy young participants were studied under quiet unipedal or bipedal standing conditions with eyes either opened or closed. COP trajectories were analyzed using both the traditional posturographic measure SDA and the proposed COP-VAF. It is shown that the COP-VAF leads to repeatable, physiologically meaningful measures that distinguish postural control differences in unipedal versus bipedal stance trials with and without vision in healthy individuals. More specifically, both a unipedal stance and lack of visual feedback increased initial values of the COP-VAF, magnitude of the first minimum, and diffusion coefficient, particularly in contrast to bipedal stance trials with open eyes. Use of a stochastic postural control model, based on an Ornstein-Uhlenbeck process that accounts for natural weight-shifts, suggests an increase in spring constant and decreased damping coefficient when fitted to experimental data. This work suggests that we can further extend our understanding of the underlying mechanisms behind postural control in quiet stance under varying stance conditions using the COP-VAF and provides a tool for quantifying future neurorehabilitative interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7112158
Pages (from-to)551-561
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2016


  • Center of pressure (COP)
  • postural control model
  • stochastic dynamics
  • velocity autocorrelation function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • General Neuroscience
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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