Effect of preparation on dual-task performance in postural control

J Mot Behav. 2004 Jun;36(2):137-46. doi: 10.3200/JMBR.36.2.137-146.


The authors applied an overlapping-task design to study the interaction between postural control and cognitive task processes in young (n = 10) and older (n = 10) adults. A rapid destabilizing floor translation was followed at specific time intervals by a simple auditory reaction time (RT) task. The translations were preceded by either an informational cue or no cue. Interference between postural task demands and the RT task was found only in the first 50 ms. Cueing also had an effect on both the onset of the postural recovery response and RT performance. The results suggest (a) only a brief interference between postural and cognitive processing demands in relatively easy tasks, (b) competition for a common central mechanism, possibly a response-selection mechanism, and (c) no differential impact of aging on that interaction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Cues
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Movement / physiology
  • Perceptual Masking
  • Photic Stimulation / instrumentation
  • Posture*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Random Allocation
  • Reaction Time / physiology*