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Self-perception of motion through visual stimulation may be important for adapting to locomotor conditions. Unilateral limb loading is a locomotor condition that can improve stability and reduce abnormal limb movement. In the present study, the authors investigated the effect of self-perception of motion through virtual reality (VR) on adaptation to unilateral limb loading. Healthy young adults, assigned to either a VR or a non-VR group, walked on a treadmill in the following 3 locomotor task periods—no load, loaded, and load removed. Subjects in the VR group viewed a virtual corridor during treadmill walking. Exposure to VR reduced cadence and muscle activity. During the loaded period, the swing time of the unloaded limb showed a larger increase in the VR group. When the load was removed, the swing time of the previously loaded limb and the stance time of the previously unloaded limb showed larger decrease and the swing time of the previously unloaded limb showed a smaller increase in the VR group. Lack of visual cues may cause the adoption of cautious strategies (higher muscle activity, shorter and more frequent steps, changes in the swing and stance times) when faced with situations that require adaptations. VR technology, providing such perceptual cues, has an important role in enhancing locomotor adaptation.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Journal of Motor Behavior on February 23 2011, available online:

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Journal of Motor Behavior





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