Background: Prior studies demonstrated that, compared to no fingertip touch (NT), a reduction in body sway resulting from the effects of light fingertip touch (LT) facilitates the performance of visual search, buttressing the concept of functional integration. However, previous findings may be confounded by different arm postures required between the NT and LT conditions. Furthermore, in older adults, how LT influences the interactions between body sway and visual search has not been established. Research questions: (1) Are LT effects valid after excluding the influences of different upper limb configurations? (2) Is functional integration is feasible for older adults? Methods: Twenty-two young (age = 21.3 ± 2.0) and 22 older adults (age = 71.8 ± 4.1) were recruited. Participants performed visual inspection and visual searches under NT and LT conditions. Results: The older group significantly reduced AP sway (p < 0.05) in LT compared to NT conditions, of which the LT effects on postural adaptation were more remarkable in older than young adults (p < 0.05). In addition, the older group significantly improved search accuracy (p < 0.05) from the LT to the NT condition, and these effects were equivalent between groups. Significance: After controlling for postural configurations, the results demonstrate that light fingertip touch reduces body sway and concurrently enhances visual search performance in older adults. These findings confirmed the effects of LT on postural adaptation as well as supported functional integration in older adults.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine