Home  /  Entropy  /  Vol: 21 Núm: 1 Par: January (2019)  /  Article

The Effect of Cognitive Resource Competition Due to Dual-Tasking on the Irregularity and Control of Postural Movement Components


Postural control research suggests a non-linear, n-shaped relationship between dual-tasking and postural stability. Nevertheless, the extent of this relationship remains unclear. Since kinematic principal component analysis has offered novel approaches to study the control of movement components (PM) and n-shapes have been found in measures of sway irregularity, we hypothesized (H1) that the irregularity of PMs and their respective control, and the control tightness will display the n-shape. Furthermore, according to the minimal intervention principle (H2) different PMs should be affected differently. Finally, (H3) we expected stronger dual-tasking effects in the older population, due to limited cognitive resources. We measured the kinematics of forty-one healthy volunteers (23 aged 26 ± 3; 18 aged 59 ± 4) performing 80 s tandem stances in five conditions (single-task and auditory n-back task; n = 1–4), and computed sample entropies on PM time-series and two novel measures of control tightness. In the PM most critical for stability, the control tightness decreased steadily, and in contrast to H3, decreased further for the younger group. Nevertheless, we found n-shapes in most variables with differing magnitudes, supporting H1 and H2. These results suggest that the control tightness might deteriorate steadily with increased cognitive load in critical movements despite the otherwise eminent n-shaped relationship.

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