The relationship between working memory and gait performance

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jordan Grubaugh (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Christopher Rhea

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to establish how performance in cognitive (i.e., working memory) and motor (i.e., gait) tasks vary when the tasks are performed in isolation and concurrently. Sixteen collegiate students, three males and 13 females, comprised the sample. The hypothesis was gait performance would decline when performed with a working memory task (dual-task condition) compared to when gait performance was performed alone (single task condition). I expected that an increase in working memory requirements during the dual tasks would lead to a corresponding decrement in gait performance by shifting gait toward maladaptive behavior. The results did not support my hypothesis. A MANOVA was used to determine if task condition influenced performance in any of the gait performance metrics (stride interval standard mean, standard deviation, or DFA α) or cognitive performance metrics (absolute score, partial score, speed error, accuracy error, or math error). No differences were observed in any of the gait or cognitive metrics as a function of the task condition. It is possible that differences were not found in gait performance metrics because the cognitive task and gait task were not drawing from the same resources. It is also conceivable that the cognitive task used in this study did not significantly tax memory to cause a decrement in gait performance.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2013
Cognition, Gait Dynamics, Working Memory
Gait in humans
Cognition $x Physiological aspects
Short-term memory $x Physiological aspects

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