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|Title:||Conscious motor control impairs attentional processing efficiency during precision stepping|
|Keywords:||Anxiety;Fear of falling;Reinvestment;Internal focus;Dual-task;Gait|
|Citation:||Gait and Posture|
|Abstract:||Background. Current evidence suggests that fall-related anxiety can impair attentional processing efficiency during gait in both young and older adults, reducing the cognitive resources available for carrying out concurrent tasks (i.e., holding a conversation whilst walking or planning the safest route for navigation). Research question. It has been suggested that fall-related anxiety may impair processing efficiency by directing attention ‘internally’, towards consciously controlling and monitoring movement. The present study aimed to evaluate this interpretation. Methods. Fifteen healthy young adults performed a precision stepping task during both single- and dual-task (completing the stepping task while simultaneously performing an arithmetic task), under three conditions: (1) Baseline; (2) Threat (walking on a platform raised 1.1 metres above ground), and; (3) Internal focus of attention (cues/instructions to direct attention towards movement processing). Results. We observed significantly greater cognitive dual-task costs (i.e., poorer performance on the arithmetic task) during Threat compared to Baseline, with the greatest costs observed in individuals reporting the highest levels of Threat-induced conscious motor processing. Significantly greater cognitive dual-task costs were also observed during the Internal condition, confirming the assumption that consciously attending to movement reduces cognitive resources available for carrying out a secondary task during gait. These results were accompanied with significantly poorer stepping accuracy in dual-task trials during both Threat and Internal. Significance. These findings support previous attempts to rationalise attentional processing inefficiencies observed in anxious walkers as being a consequence of an anxiety-induced internal focus of attention.|
|Appears in Collections:||Dept of Clinical Sciences Research Papers|
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