Cory Monahan

Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Wendy L. Hurley, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Peter McGinnis, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Duane T. Graysay, Ph.D.


Balance and postural control exercises are often a part of exercise programs. During exercise programs, movement practitioners can provide instructions to facilitate performance and learning. Instructions can be used to direct attentional focus, which has been found to affect the performance and learning of motor skills, including balance and postural control tasks. However, no known studies to date have investigated the effect of both internal and external attentional focus instructions on static single leg balance performance. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of attentional focus instructions on static single leg balance performance as reflected by the complexity of the center of pressure (COP) profile. Data from forty-six participants between the ages of 19-28 years old were analyzed. Participants were divided into three groups: internal focus (INT) (n=15), external focus (EXT) (n=16) and control (CON) (n=15). Participants performed a thirty-five second static single leg balance task. Prior to the balance task, instructions were provided to participants which differed in the direction of attentional focus (internal or external focus), and the control group did not receive specific attentional focus instructions. Outcome measures were the scaling exponent determined from a detrended fluctuation analysis (DFA) to infer complexity of the COP profile in the anteriorposterior (AP) and medial-lateral (ML) directions, and root mean square error (RMSE) of the COP profile in AP and ML directions. A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) determined there were no statistically significant differences in the measured variables among groups. The results did not support the claim that manipulating the direction of attentional focus affects static single leg balance performance.