The purpose of this article is to review the literature related to the application of dual-task methodology in adults and children, particularly in the areas of gait and postural stability.
Summary of Key Points:
The interaction between cognitive factors and motor performance recently has received considerable attention in physical therapy research. Researchers often use dual-task methodology to investigate the attentional demands of motor tasks or the effects of concurrent tasks on motor performance. The attentional demands of a task and the interference effects of concurrent tasks are influenced by a number of factors, including the performer's age, level of skill, and the nature of the tasks involved. Even highly practiced activities, such as walking and postural control, are attention-demanding, especially in individuals with impairments.
An understanding of how attentional demands and other cognitive factors influence motor performance may be helpful to physical therapists in structuring intervention activities and in identifying children who have particular difficulty under dual-task conditions. By modifying both cognitive and motor task demands, therapists can tailor their interventions to provide appropriate challenges for children at different skill levels.
Address correspondence to:Dr. Vicki Stemmons Mercer, Division of Physical Therapy, Department of Allied Health Sciences, CB# 7135, Medical School Wing E, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7135. Email:[email protected]
Copyright © 2001 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. and Section on Pediatrics of the American Physical Therapy Association. All rights reserved.