EFFECTS OF AGE, TASK, AND FREQUENCY ON VARIABILITY OF FINGER TAPPING1


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Abstract

Summary.The goal was to assess whether prior studies might have overestimated performance variability in older adults in dual task conditions by relying on primary motor tasks that are not constant with aging. 30 younger and 31 older adults performed a bimanual tapping task at four different frequencies in isolation or concurrently with a secondary task. Results showed that performance of younger and older adults was not significantly different in performing the tapping task at all frequencies and with either secondary task, as indicated by mean tapping performance and low number of errors in the secondary tasks. Both groups showed increased variability as tapping frequency increased and with the presence of a secondary task. Tapping concurrently while reading words increased tapping variability more than tapping concurrently while naming colours. Although older participants' performances were overall more variable, no interaction effects with age were found and at the highest frequencies of tapping, younger and older participants did not differ in performance.

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