Journal Article

Cognitive and visual task effects on gaze behaviour and gait of younger and older adults


Cognitive dual tasks alter gait of younger and older adults and recent research has demonstrated that they also infuence gaze behaviour and standing postural control. These fndings suggest that age-related changes in cognitive and gaze function might increase fall risk in older adults. The purpose of this study was to determine the efect cognitive and visual dual tasks on the gait and gaze behaviour of younger and older adults. Ten older and ten younger adults walked for 3 min on a treadmill at preferred walking speed under three conditions, single task, cognitive and visual dual task conditions. Gait dynamics were measured using accelerometry and gaze behaviour was measured using wearable eye-trackers. Stride time variability and centre of mass (COM) motion complexity increased in dual-task conditions in older adults but had no difference for younger adults. Dual tasks had limited efect on gaze behaviour; however, visual input duration was greater, and visual input frequency and saccade frequency were lower in older than younger adults. The gaze adaptations in older adults may be the result of slower visual processing or represent a compensatory strategy to suppress postural movement. The increase in gait COM motion complexity in older adults suggests the dual tasks led to more automatic gait control resulting from both cognitive and visual tasks.

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Walsh, Gregory
Snowball, James

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Sport, Health Sciences and Social Work


Year of publication: 2023
Date of RADAR deposit: 2023-05-02

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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