J. Rutherford, M. Ravitz, C. Ito, B. Farber, C. Motes Vela, C.J. Wutzke

Gonzaga University Spokane, WA

The ability to split attentional demands is important for a variety of everyday tasks, however this is of particular importance during athletic competition. Although it is understood that dual tasking is associated with impaired motor performance, it is not known if different sources of dual task attentional demands alter motor performance differently. PURPOSE: To determine the influence of visual, cognitive, motor, and mixed motor tasks on peak torque, time to peak torque, and average torque during a maximal isometric leg extension. METHODS: 12 young, unimpaired adult participants completed maximal isometric leg extensions for 3 seconds under different conditions of dual task: a gross motor (MOT) task, a visual (VIS) task, a cognitive (COG) task, and a task combining the three (COMBO). For each condition, torque production was recorded using a HUMAC isokinetic dynamometer. Data was analyzed using a repeated measures ANOVA to determine differences between conditions (p<0.05). RESULTS: Baseline peak torque (75.40+19.84Nm) was lower than dual task conditions including the MOT task (66.17+23.50 Nm, p=0.007), the VIS task (68.08+21.39 Nm, p=0.003), the COG task (63.92+22.69 Nm, p=0.007), and COMBO task (58.96+24.75 Nm, p<0.001). Average torque at during conditions of dual task (MOT 50.21+19.11 Nm, p<.001; COG 52.86+20.17 Nm, p=.006; COMBO task 47.42+21.78 Nm, p<.001) were lower than baseline average torque (62.08+15.80 Nm). No differences were found in time to peak torque between baseline and conditions of dual task. CONCLUSIONS: Conditions of dual task was associated with reduced torque production compared to baseline condition. Motor and cognitive dual task conditions influenced torque production moreso than the visual dual task condition. Torque production (peak and average torque) was most influenced by the combination dual task condition suggesting that as attentional task demands increased, participants prioritized performance on non-motor tasks to the detriment of motor performance. Future research should examine the influence training with conditions of dual task to determine if motor performance can be maintained when exposed to dual attentional demands.

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