The study examined, in children aged 7 and adults, the postural control when a cognitive task (modified Stroop) of varying level of difficulty is executed simultaneously. Postural difficulty also varied (with or without vibrations of the ankle joint). We hypothesized that children's performance was more affected than adults', when the difficulty of the cognitive and postural tasks increased. Results (i) demonstrated that the presence of a concurrent cognitive task affected postural sway at all ages; (ii) confirmed that the interference between mental activity and postural control can be attributed mainly to general capacity limitations and (iii) showed a degradation of the postural criteria in children but not of the cognitive ones, when the postural condition was constraining.
aLaboratory TIMC-IMAG, UMR CNRS, Group of Health, Plasticity, Motricity, University of Joseph Fourier
bUMR CNRS, Group of Development and Pathology of Action, University of Mediterranean, Marseille, Cedex, France
Correspondence to Isabelle Olivier, PhD, Laboratoire TIMC-IMAG, UMR CNRS, Equipe ‘Santé, Plasticité, Motricité’, Université Joseph Fourier, BP 53, 38041 Grenoble Cedex 9, France
Tel: +33 4 76 63 50 57; fax: +33 4 76 63 51 00; e-mail: Isabelle.Olivier@ujf-grenoble.fr
Received 29 November 2006; accepted 31 January 2007