Error amplification (EA), virtually magnify task errors in visual feedback, is a potential neurocognitive approach to facilitate motor performance. With regional activities and inter-regional connectivity of electroencephalography (EEG), this study investigated underlying cortical mechanisms associated with improvement of postural balance using EA.
Eighteen healthy young participants maintained postural stability on a stabilometer, guided by two visual feedbacks (error amplification (EA) vs. real error (RE)), while stabilometer plate movement and scalp EEG were recorded. Plate dynamics, including root mean square (RMS), sample entropy (SampEn), and mean frequency (MF) were used to characterize behavioral strategies. Regional cortical activity and inter-regional connectivity of EEG sub-bands were characterized to infer neural control with relative power and phase-lag index (PLI), respectively.
In contrast to RE, EA magnified the errors in the visual feedback to twice its size during stabilometer stance. The results showed that EA led to smaller RMS of postural fluctuations with greater SampEn and MF than RE did. Compared with RE, EA altered cortical organizations with greater regional powers in the mid-frontal cluster (theta, 4–7 Hz), occipital cluster (alpha, 8–12 Hz), and left temporal cluster (beta, 13–35 Hz). In terms of the phase-lag index of EEG between electrode pairs, EA significantly reduced long-range prefrontal-parietal and prefrontal-occipital connectivity of the alpha/beta bands, and the right tempo-parietal connectivity of the theta/alpha bands. Alternatively, EA augmented the fronto-centro-parietal connectivity of the theta/alpha bands, along with the right temporo-frontal and temporo-parietal connectivity of the beta band.
EA alters postural strategies to improve stance stability on a stabilometer with visual feedback, attributable to enhanced error processing and attentional release for target localization. This study provides supporting neural correlates for the use of virtual reality with EA during balance training.