Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences

First Committee Member

Gabriele Wulf

Second Committee Member

Janet Dufek

Third Committee Member

John Mercer

Fourth Committee Member

Jenifer Utz

Number of Pages



The purpose of this study was to determine the differences, if any, in the root mean square error (RMSE) of postural sway and hemispheric power spectral density (PSD) in the alpha and beta bands (8-12Hz and 12-25Hz) during different conditions of attentional focus (i.e., internal focus (IF), and external focus (EF) and a control condition (C)). Previous studies have shown that the adoption of IF and EF significantly alter motor performance and that EF promotes automaticity (Wulf, 2013). Sports performance and balance studies utilizing EEG spectral analyses report increased alpha oscillations during expert performance and stable balance and increased beta oscillations during novice performances and challenging balance tasks. The present study was the first to examine the effects of attentional focus on postural sway and hemispheric PSD of EEG readings. Fifteen participants (N=15) were given instructions (i.e., C, "stand still"; IF, "keep your feet still"; EF, "keep the platform still") while standing on an unstable, compliant surface. Data were recorded for 3 minutes 45 seconds per condition. Results of the analyses were compared within subject. Postural sway analysis did not reveal differences between conditions but did show higher RMSE values in the anterior-posterior than the medial-lateral directions. The EEG PSD analyses revealed significant Condition x Frequency interaction within the right hemisphere for alpha and beta frequencies. The control condition had more power density than did the external or internal focus conditions. Also, the left hemisphere had more power density in the beta band in the control condition than the other focus conditions. There were not, however, differences between external and internal focus in either hemisphere or frequency band. Possible limitations of the study and suggestions for future inquiries are discussed.


Alpha rhythm; Attention; Attentional Focus; Automaticity; Beta rhythm; Electroencephalography; Equilibrium (Physiology); Human beings – Attitude and movement; Mobile EEG; Postural Sway; Posture; Power Spectral Density


Kinesiology | Medical Neurobiology | Neuroscience and Neurobiology | Neurosciences

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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