Effects of anxiety, visual target predictability and pain on gaze behavior during a visuomotor task





Posture, Lumbar Pain, Visual Search, Motor Control, Anxious


BACKGROUND: Attention and cognitive effort during postural control can be influenced by under threatening situations, such as pain, particularly in anxious individuals when visually tracking a target.

AIM: This study aimed to investigate the effects of anxiety, visual target type, and acute lumbar muscle pain on gaze behavior during a visual pursuit/postural control task.

METHOD: Nine young adult participants underwent testing over three time periods: (1) pre-infusion, (2) intramuscular (multifidus muscles) infusion of hypertonic (acute pain)/isotonic (placebo) solution, and (3) post-infusion (after 40 minutes after pain is vanished). The two sessions were separated by one week, in a counterbalanced order. During each session, participants performed a postural control task with visual pursuit, focusing on three targets (fixed, stochastic, and deterministic - 3 trials per target) while wearing an eye-tracker. STAI/IDATE was used to assess the participants' level of state anxiety: n=4 high-anxious and n=5 low-anxious. Continuous time of gaze on target (CTGT) and pupil diameter variability (PDV) were grouped into blocks of 3 trials.

RESULTS: High-anxious participants exhibited greater variability in PDV during the infusion period. The deterministic target required less visual attention (shorter CTGT) compared to the fixed and stochastic targets. Both injected solutions (hypertonic and isotonic) had similar effects on CTGT and PDV.

CONCLUSION: During the postural control task with visual pursuit: (1) high-anxious participants exerted greater cognitive effort, (2) participants deflected visual attention on the deterministic target, (3) acute and placebo muscle pain did not affect visual attention and cognitive effort.


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How to Cite

Leopoldo, M. P. G., Meira Junior, C. M., Silva, R. M., Rodeguer, C. E. B., Goethel, M., Magalhães, F. H., & Ervilha, U. F. (2023). Effects of anxiety, visual target predictability and pain on gaze behavior during a visuomotor task. Brazilian Journal of Motor Behavior, 17(5), 222–227. https://doi.org/10.20338/bjmb.v17i5.371



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