Is movement reinvestment related to balance task objective priorities?


Movement reinvestment describes the tendency to direct attention to the control and/or perception of movement. The tendency to reinvest is measured with the Movement-Specific Reinvestment Scale (MSRS) consisting of two subscales: conscious motor processing (CMP) and movement self-consciousness (MSC). Movement reinvestment may alter how an individual prioritizes task objectives when performing different balance tasks. This study examined the relationship between movement reinvestment and prioritization of task objectives when navigating through an obstacle course when given specific objectives. Healthy older adults [N=130, 66.1 years (7.0 years)] completed the MSRS and navigated an obstacle course consisting of five distinct challenges: walking across a narrow foam pathway, altering step length and width to target footprints, avoiding on and above ground obstacles, weaving through four obstacles, and stepping up and down stairs. Three trials were performed with instructions to emphasize speed, stability and avoiding errors. Duration and errors made were recorded. Following each trial, participants assigned a percentage value to each of the three task objectives (required to sum to 100%). Participants were divided into low and high MSC groups (this subscale was used based on its relationship to obstacle course performance) consistent with Zhu and colleagues (2011). The results showed that the low MSC group had faster durations, made fewer errors and placed greater priority on speed (47% for speed compared to 22% for stability and 31% for avoiding errors) while the high MSC group had slower durations, made more errors and placed greater priority on stability (40% for stability compared to 34% for speed and 26% for avoiding errors). The results suggest that greater concern about movement style was related to obstacle course performance and the priority given to different task objectives. The results suggest movement reinvestment, specifically MSC, should be considered when assessing performance on tasks that have multiple objectives.

Acknowledgments: NSERC