Age-related differences in working memory and force control under dual-task conditions

Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn. Sep-Dec 2006;13(3-4):366-84. doi: 10.1080/138255890969339.


The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between force control and cognitive performance under dual-task conditions in younger (18-22 years) and older adults (65-77 years). Cognitive (n-back test) and motor performance (force-tracking) was measured independently and simultaneously. Results indicated overall age-related differences for the n-back and the force-tracking task. Age-related differences increased during dual-task conditions. While younger adults exhibited no decrease in cognitive or motor performance during dual-task conditions, older adults showed a decrease in motor and cognitive performance. Additionally, when older adults made an error in the cognitive task they tended to show greater variability in the force-tracking task. These results suggest that cognitive motor deficits are responsible for older adults' performance decrements under dual-task conditions.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Female
  • Hand Strength / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Verbal Behavior / physiology