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Title: Age-related enhancement in visuomotor learning by a dual-task

Many daily activities require performance of multiple tasks integrating cognitive and motor processes. While the fact that both processes go through deterioration and changes with aging has been generally accepted, not much is known about how aging interacts with stages of motor skill acquisition under a cognitively demanding situation. To address this question, we combined a visuomotor adaptation task with a secondary cognitive task. We made two primary findings beyond the expected age-related performance deterioration. First, while young adults showed classical dual-task cost in the early motor learning phase dominated by explicit processes, older adults instead strikingly displayed enhanced performance in the later stage, dominated by implicit processes. For older adults, the secondary task may have facilitated a shift to their relatively intact implicit learning processes that reduced reliance on their already-deficient explicit processes during visuomotor adaptation. Second, we demonstrated that consistently performing the secondary task in learning and re-learning phases can operate as an internal task-context and facilitate visuomotor memory retrieval later regardless of age groups. Therefore, our study demonstrated age-related similarities and differences in integrating concurrent cognitive load with motor skill acquisition which, may in turn, contributes to the understanding of a shift in balance across multiple systems.

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Award ID(s):
1555006 1849169
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Nature Publishing Group
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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