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Emotion. 2011 Apr;11(2):267-77. doi: 10.1037/a0022577.

Emotional state affects the initiation of forward gait.

Author information

1
Department of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology, University of Florida, USA. kmgamble@hhp.ufl.edu

Abstract

The aim of the current study was to determine the extent to which pleasant and unpleasant emotional states impact the initiation of forward gait. Participants initiated gait and walked for several steps following the presentation of low arousing pleasant, high arousing pleasant, low arousing unpleasant, high arousing unpleasant, and neutral pictures. Reaction time, displacement, and velocity of the center of pressure (COP) trajectory, and length and velocity of the first and second steps were calculated. Exposure to the highly arousing unpleasant pictures reduced reaction times compared to all other affective conditions. Compared to the low arousing unpleasant pictures, exposure to the high and low arousing pleasant pictures increased the displacement of the COP movement during the anticipatory postural adjustment phase of gait initiation. Additionally, exposure to the low arousing pleasant pictures increased the velocity of the COP movement during the anticipatory postural adjustment phase, compared to the high and low arousing unpleasant pictures. Exposure to the high and low arousing pleasant pictures increased the velocity of the first step relative to the low arousing unpleasant pictures. These findings demonstrate that highly arousing unpleasant emotional states accelerate the initial motor response, but pleasant emotional states generally facilitate the initiation of forward gait due to the approach-oriented directional salience of the movement. These findings extend the scope of the motivational direction hypothesis by demonstrating the effects of emotional reactivity on the initiation of gait.

PMID:
21500896
DOI:
10.1037/a0022577
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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