The influence of cognitive resources on compensatory arm responses
Laing, Justin Michael
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The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of an ongoing cognitive task on an individual’s ability to generate a compensatory arm response. Twenty young and 16 older adults recovered their balance from a support surface translation while completing a cognitive (counting) task of varying difficulty. Surface electromyographic (EMG) recordings from the shoulders and kinematics of the right arm were collected to quantify the compensatory arm response. Results indicated that the counting task, regardless of its difficulty as well as the age of the individual, had minimal influence on the onset or magnitude of arm muscle activity that occurred following a loss of balance. In contrast to previous research, this study’s findings suggest that the cortical or cognitive resources utilized by the cognitive task are not relied upon for the generation of compensatory arm responses and that older adults are not disproportionately affected by dual-tasking than young adults.