Mental set can modulate response onset in the lower limb muscles to falls in humans

Siu Ngor Fu, C. W Y Hui-Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of this study was to investigate the modulation of the ankle muscle electromyographic (EMG) response as a function of mental set. Thirteen young healthy subjects underwent 40 unexpected and self-initiated drops from 30 cm above two separate force-plates. Following unexpected drops, reflex activities were observed in the medial gastrocnemius (MG) and tibialis anterior (TA) at mean latencies (±SD) of 83.59±10.1 and 99.43±21.82 ms, respectively. Following self-initiated drops, the response latency of the MG was significantly shortened (to 71.98±10 ms, P<0.05), and the TA was significantly lengthened (to 183.33±45 ms, P<0.05) when compared with unexpected drops. Such a modulation was associated with a significant reduction of the impact force on landing as compared with unexpected drops (by 17%, P<0.05). Interestingly, a negative correlation was found between the onset of the TA EMG response and the magnitude of the impact force on landing during expected (r=-0.66, P<0.05) but not unexpected drops.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-80
Number of pages4
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2002


  • Electromyographic responses
  • Falls
  • Impact force
  • Landing
  • Mental set
  • Unexpected and self-initiated drops

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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