Effects of visual guidance on the reduction of impacts during landings

Ergonomics. 1991 Nov;34(11):1399-406. doi: 10.1080/00140139108964880.


While a common view is that vision is essential to motor performance, some recent studies have shown that continuous visual guidance may not always be required within certain time constraints. This study investigated a landing-related task (self-released falls) to assess the extent to which visual information enhances the ability to reduce the impacts at touchdown. Six individuals performed six blocked trials from four height categories in semi-counterbalanced order (5-10, 20-25, 60-65, and 90-95 cm) in vision and no-vision conditions randomly assigned. A series of two-way ANOVA with repeated measures were carried out separately on each dependent variable collapsed over six trials. The results indicated that vision during the flight did not produce softer landings. Indeed, in analysing the first peak (PFP) a main effect for visual condition was revealed in that the mean amplitude was slightly higher when vision was available (F(1,5) = 6.57; p less than 0.05), thus implicating higher forces at impact. The results obtained when the time to the first peak (TFP) was applied showed no significant differences between conditions (F(1,5) less than 1). As expected, in all cases, the analyses yielded significant main effects for the height categories factor. It appears that during self-initiated falls in which the environmental cues are known before the event, visual guidance is not necessary in order to adopt a softer landing strategy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cues*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology*