Auditory stimulus has a larger effect on anticipatory postural adjustments in older than young adults during choice step reaction
The study aim was to compare the influence of an auditory stimulus (AS) on anticipatory postural adjustments (APAs) between young and older adults during a choice step reaction.
Sixteen young and 19 older adults stepped forward in response to a visual imperative stimulus of an arrow. We used a choice reaction time (CRT) task and a Simon task which consisted of congruent and incongruent conditions. The direction of the presented arrow and its spatial location matched in the congruent condition while they did not in the incongruent condition. The AS was presented randomly and simultaneously with the visual stimulus. Incorrect weight shifts before lifting off the foot, termed APA errors, stepping errors, temporal parameters, and APA amplitudes were analyzed.
The APA error rate was higher in trials with than without AS in all task conditions for the older group, while this increase occurred only in the incongruent condition for the young group. The stepping error rate was also increased in the presence of AS in the incongruent condition for the older group. Reaction times were faster with AS in both groups. The APA amplitude of erroneous APA trials became larger with AS in the incongruent condition for both groups, and this effect appeared greater for the older group.
The effect of AS on APAs is larger in the elderly during a choice step reaction. In the presence of incongruent visual information, this effect becomes even greater, potentially inducing not only APA errors but also stepping errors.
Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00421-017-3727-5
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