Skilled adult movers plan for a comfortable end position even when this requires an
uncomfortable start position (end-state-comfort effect). This ability declines in late adulthood
and has been linked to age-related differences in cognitive functioning. Other factors, which
may also drive difference in motor planning in later adulthood have not been systematically
examined. These include perceptions of comfort and levels of motor imagery ability (one’s
ability to mentally simulate action / predict the outcome of action). Therefore, this study
investigated the constraints on movement planning across the lifespan, including executive
functions, general motor ability, physical constraints to movement and motor imagery ability.
One hundred and twenty-two participants aged 20-81 years completed an end-state-comfort
task with increasing levels of complexity. Individuals’ executive functions, motor control,
motor imagery ability and perceived rotation span were also examined. Age-related decline
was shown in planning for sequential movements but not in simple single-step movements.
Motor planning demonstrated an age-related difference which was associated with an
increasing number of constraints as age increased, and in older adults chronological age
influenced the effect of each constraint on motor planning. Age-related difference in motor
planning may reflect effective compensatory strategies in response to differing constraints in
motor imagery ability, executive functions, perceived rotation span and general speed and
accuracy of movement as we age.
Wang ShanWilliams, JacquelineWilmut, Kate
Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development
Year of publication: 2019Date of RADAR deposit: 2019-09-09
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