Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Sebastião, Emerson

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education (KNPE)


Center of pressure (CoP) and related-metrics are widely accepted indicators of balance performance. Traditional indices of balance performance (e.g. sway area) have been seen as incapable of fully characterizing CoP dynamics, therefore newer measures have been used in contemporary literature to characterize regularity, complexity, and dimensionality of CoP signals. A popular method of increasing standing task difficulty is through the addition of a cognitive task, referred to as dual-task. PURPOSE: The present study sought to investigate the potential of a hierarchical attentional difficulty within the dual-task paradigm and to propose way to order those difficulties by examining differences in static balance performance using arithmetic and linguistic dual task paradigms,. METHODS: Twenty-nine healthy college aged students (Average age: 23.5 ± 2.1 years; Height: 173.5 ± 10.7 cm; Weight: 78.6 ± 18.9 kg; Body Mass Index: 26.06 ± 5.5 kg/m2) were recruited to participate in the study. The study followed a randomized within-subjects design, in which each participant completed each of four task conditions in a randomized order. The protocol consisted of four conditions. During each condition the participant was instructed to stand on a force plate located one meter away from a wall, to fix gaze on a five centimeter in diameter dot placed at eye level, with feet everted on a 15 degree angle from the midsagittal line, feet shoulder width apart, with shoes off. Task conditions included single task (ST) where participants were instructed to focus on balance,

arithmetic dual task where participants counted backwards from 500 by 1 (DT1) and by 7 (DT7), and linguistic dual task (LDT) where participants spelled words backwards that were proctored to them. Sway area (SA), average velocity (V ̅), and sample entropy (SEn) of the anteroposterior (SEnY) and mediolateral (SEnX) directions were gathered. RESULTS: No significant effect of task condition was found in the linear measures SA or V ̅. A significant difference was found in SEnY (F(1.907, 49.582) = 6.238, P = .004) between ST and DT1 (.056 ± .024 versus .068 ± .023), and ST and DT7 (.056 ± .024 versus .069 ± .024), indicating greater automaticity of balance during the DT conditions. However, no significance was found between ST and LDT, or between DT conditions. CONLCUSION: The findings of the present study suggest no evidence of hierarchical attentional demand within the dual task paradigm for the population studied.


70 pages




Northern Illinois University

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