Intra-individual fluctuations in behavioral measures of attention during a prolonged motor-cognitive divided attention task: a study in older adults

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Sustaining an appropriate level of attention over time is critical for completing many tasks in daily life such as driving, maintaining a conversation etc. Unfortunately, attention is not deployed consistently but rather fluctuates between optimal and suboptimal states. In case remaining focussed is required for a longer period of time, attentional performance can even be limited to a point that it has safety implications, such as increased risk of falling for older adults. Laboratory-based paradigms typically use computer-based, vigilance/sustained attention tasks, which are unlikely to reflect daily activities and therefore potential hazardous scenarios, which mostly happen in dual-task and from a standing or walking position. This study used an ecologically valid approach to measure attentional fluctuations and the potential effects of mental fatigue during a prolonged motor-cognitive dual-task. Over 40 older adults stood on a force plate connected to a screen in front of them. The task was to step as quickly as possible to the direction indicated by visual (right, left, forwards, backwards) or auditory cues (step forwards for high-pitched tones and step backwards for low-pitched tones). Preliminary results show subtle fluctuations but not significant performance alterations during the 30-min dual-task. Further trajectories of reaction times, errors and reaction time variability over the 30-, 45-, or 60-minute paradigms will be presented and discussed. This study’s findings may serve to advance our understanding of how attention unfolds over time and therefore design effective interventions to prevent fatigue and falls.
TitelAbstract Book : 5th International Conference 'Aging & Cognition', April 24-26
Herausgeber (Verlag)University of Zurich
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 25.04.2019
VeranstaltungInternational Conference 'Aging & Cognition' - Zurich, Schweiz
Dauer: 24.04.201926.04.2019
Konferenznummer: 5

ID: 3687993

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