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Neurobiological Degeneracy and Affordance Perception Support Functional Intra-Individual Variability of Inter-Limb Coordination during Ice Climbing

Abstract : This study investigated the functional intra-individual movement variability of ice climbers differing in skill level to understand how icefall properties were used by participants as affordances to adapt inter-limb coordination patterns during performance. Seven expert climbers and seven beginners were observed as they climbed a 30 m icefall. Movement and positioning of the left and right hand ice tools, crampons and the climber's pelvis over the first 20 m of the climb were recorded and digitized using video footage from a camera (25 Hz) located perpendicular to the plane of the icefall. Inter-limb coordination, frequency and types of action and vertical axis pelvis displacement exhibited by each climber were analysed for the first five minutes of ascent. Participant perception of climbing affordances was assessed through: (i) calculating the ratio between exploratory movements and performed actions, and (ii), identifying, by self-confrontation interviews, the perceptual variables of environmental properties, which were significant to climbers for their actions. Data revealed that experts used a wider range of upper and lower limb coordination patterns, resulting in the emergence of different types of action and fewer exploratory movements, suggesting that effective holes in the icefall provided affordances to regulate performance. In contrast, beginners displayed lower levels of functional intra-individual variability of motor organization, due to repetitive swinging of ice tools and kicking of crampons to achieve and maintain a deep anchorage, suggesting lack of perceptual attunement and calibration to environmental properties to support climbing performance.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, April 30, 2019 - 4:15:31 PM
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Ludovic Seifert, Leo Wattebled, Romain Hérault, Germain Poizat, David Adé, et al.. Neurobiological Degeneracy and Affordance Perception Support Functional Intra-Individual Variability of Inter-Limb Coordination during Ice Climbing. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2014, 9 (2), pp.e89865. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0089865⟩. ⟨hal-02116015⟩

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