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Cognitive Compensation Among Older Adults in the Context of an Unpredictable Platform Perturbation

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Cognitive Compensation Among Older Adults in the Context of an Unpredictable Platform Perturbation

Bruce, Halina (2014) Cognitive Compensation Among Older Adults in the Context of an Unpredictable Platform Perturbation. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Research has revealed an increasing interdependence between cognitive and both auditory and motor functioning with age (Baltes & Lindenberger, 1997) with correlational work suggesting an association between hearing loss and falls (Viljanen et al., 2009). The current study was designed to experimentally investigate cognitive capacity as a candidate underlying this association. Twenty-nine younger adults (M = 21.83, SD = 3.01) and twenty-five older adults (M = 65.32, SD = 3.26) were recruited to balance in response to a platform perturbation and perform a cognitive task alone and concurrently. These tasks were also completed in noisy conditions to simulate age-related hearing loss. We hypothesized that older adults would show greater dual-task costs than younger adults and that performance costs would be exacerbated by attentional load (i.e., dual-tasking) and auditory challenge (i.e., noise). It was also hypothesized that older adults would prioritize balance over cognitive performance. Results revealed that cognitive performance was negatively impacted by age and noise but not by attentional load, with the effect of auditory challenge exacerbated among older adults. Postural data was analyzed for a subset of thirteen younger (M = 22.54, SD = 2.50) and thirteen older (M = 65.31, SD = 4.05) adults. While differences were found in response to task manipulations in both the reflexive and voluntary portion of the response among younger adults, older adults demonstrated a conservative response suggesting postural prioritization. These findings complement epidemiological work linking hearing loss and mobility decline, and are novel in providing experimental evidence that implicates cognitive capacity as an underlying factor.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Bruce, Halina
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Psychology
Date:4 August 2014
Thesis Supervisor(s):Li, Karen Z. H.
ID Code:979019
Deposited By: HALINA BRUCE
Deposited On:07 Nov 2014 16:38
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:48
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