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Increased cognitive load leads to impaired motor decisions in seniors at risk for falls: A virtual reality experiment

Document Number:N2011-007
Document Type:Journal paper
Author(s):Lindsay Nagamatsu
Michelle Voss
Mark Neider
John Gaspar
Todd Handy
Arthur Kramer
Teresa Liu-Ambrose
Publication / Venue Name:Psychology and Aging
Publication Date:2011-06-01
Abstract:Successful mobility requires appropriate decision-making. Seniors with reduced executive functioning— such as senior fallers—may be prone to poor mobility judgments, especially under dual-task conditions. We classified participants as “At-Risk” and “Not-At-Risk” for falls using a validated physiological falls-risk assessment. Dual-task performance was assessed in a virtual reality environment where participants crossed a simulated street by walking on a manual treadmill while listening to music or conversing on a phone. Those “At-Risk” experienced more collisions with oncoming cars and had longer crossing times in the Phone condition compared to controls. We conclude that poor mobility judgments during a dual-task leads to unsafe mobility for those at-risk for falls.
Body:No files listed
Cognitive load
Falls risk

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