Manipulating balance perceptions in healthy young adults

Gait Posture. 2009 Apr;29(3):383-6. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2008.10.056. Epub 2008 Nov 26.


This study was designed to manipulate balance efficacy using verbal persuasion to investigate its influence on perceived and actual balance in healthy young adults (n=46). Participants completed two balance tasks and were then randomized to either a high (performance within the top 10% for age and gender) or low (performance within the bottom 10% for age and gender) balance efficacy group, regardless of actual balance. Following the performance feedback, participants completed the same two balance tasks. Participants rated their balance efficacy prior to all tasks, and their perceived stability following all tasks. Trunk movement was recorded during each task to provide an estimate of actual balance. Results showed that the manipulation failed to alter balance efficacy in either group. However, participants in the good balance information group reported greater stability than those in the poor balance information group following the performance feedback, despite no changes in actual balance. These results suggest that verbal persuasion, independent of changes in balance efficacy or actual balance, can modify perceptions of stability in healthy young adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Feedback, Psychological / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Perception / physiology*
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Random Allocation
  • Young Adult