Interacting Effects of Cognitive Load and Adult Age on the Regularity of Whole-Body Motion During Treadmill Walking
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Psychology And Aging
Förlag: Amer Psychological Assoc
We investigated effects of concurrent cognitive task difficulty (n-back) on the regularity of whole-body movements during treadmill walking in women and men from 3 age groups (20-30, 60-70, and 70-80 years old). Using principal component analysis of individual gait patterns, we separated main (regular) from residual (irregular) components of whole-body motion. Proportion of residual variance (RV) was used as an index of gait irregularity. The gait in all age groups became more regular (reduced RV) upon introduction of a simple cognitive task (1-back), relative to walking without a concurrent cognitive task. In contrast, parametrically increasing working memory load from 1-back to 4-back led to age-differential effects, with gait patterns becoming more regular in those 20-30 years old, becoming less regular in those 70-80 years old, and showing no significant effects in those 60-70 years old. Our results support the dual-process account of sensorimotor-cognitive interactions (O. Huxhold, S.-C. Li, F. Schmiedek, and U. Lindenberger, 2006), with age-general effects of internal versus external attentional focus and age-specific effects of resource competition with increasing cognitive task difficulty.
- principal component analysis
- working memory
- ISSN: 0882-7974