Balancing on a slackline: 8-year-olds vs. adults

Schärli, Andrea; Keller, Melanie; Lorenzetti, Silvio; Murer, Kurt; van de Langenberg, Rolf (2013). Balancing on a slackline: 8-year-olds vs. adults. Frontiers in psychology, 4, p. 208. Frontiers Research Foundation 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00208

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Children are less stable than adults during static upright stance. We investigated whether the same holds true for a task that was novel for both children and adults and highly dynamic: single-legged stance on a slackline. We compared 8-year-olds with young adults and assessed the following outcome measures: time on the slackline, stability on the slack-line (calculated from slackline reaction force), gaze movement, head-in-space rotation and translation, trunk-in-space rotation, and head-on-trunk rotation. Eight-year-olds fell off the slackline quicker and were generally less stable on the slackline than adults. Eight-year-olds also showed more head-in-space rotation and translation, and more gaze variability around a visual anchor point they were instructed to fixate. Trunk-in-space and head-on-trunk rotations did not differ between groups. The results imply that the lower postural stability of 8-year-olds compared to adults – as found in simple upright stance – holds true for dynamic, novel tasks in which adults lack the advantage of more practice. They also suggest that the lack of head and gaze stability constitutes an important limiting factor in children’s ability to master such tasks

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW)
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW) > Movement and Exercise Science

UniBE Contributor:

Schärli, Andrea


700 Arts > 790 Sports, games & entertainment




Frontiers Research Foundation




Andrea Melanie Schärli van de Langenberg

Date Deposited:

12 Mar 2014 16:05

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:28

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

postural control, stability, head, gaze, trunk, balance, slackline, children




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