Does postural threat alter the role of cognition for postural control?

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Sleik, Ryan John
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge : University of Lethbridge, University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science, 2001
Cognitive demands for postural control in younger and older adults were examined under conditions of postural threat. Age-related differences emerged in the distribution of attention for postural control in conditions of postural threat. Specifically, porutral compensations were implented to reduce cognitive demands for postural control. In addition, it was determined that the effect of performing a secondary cognitive task on postural control was altered when the potential consequences of instability were increased. Younger adults were found to maintain postural control and improve secondary task performance in conditions of increased threat whereas postural control in older adults improved at the expense of secondary task performance. In older adults, postural control may be prioritized under conditions that increase arousal and the consequences of imbalance. These findings have implications for reducing falls in elderly populations, as they reveal that the ability to adequately perform concurrent tasks is compromised when environmental factors threaten balance in elderly populations.
xi, 113 leaves ; 28 cm.
Posture , Equilibrium (Physiology) , Human locomotion , Dissertations, Academic