The timing and reciprocity of motor-cognitive dual-task interference: insights from electrophysiology and pursuit tracking

Baker, J. ORCID: 0000-0001-8133-7622, 2021. The timing and reciprocity of motor-cognitive dual-task interference: insights from electrophysiology and pursuit tracking. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Our cognitive system is encased in a physical machine. The ability to process incoming information, and to make decisions in order to guide behaviour, must run in parallel to the operating of the body in which it is bound. Though often considered independent, coordinating the body has been found to interact with the mechanics of cognitive operations, and the loading of the cognitive system has been found to influence the way in which we coordinate the body. This bi-directional ‘motor-cognitive’ interference can pose significant risk to body safety. Continuous sensorimotor coordination, such as the delicate task of applying appropriate force to the breaks of a motor vehicle, is such a behaviour that could prove fatal if influenced by a demanding cognitive operation (e.g. reciting a shopping list). It is therefore paramount that a detailed understanding of how these interferences unfold is obtained. This thesis utilizes electrophysiological measures and a sensitive pursuit-tracking motor coordination task in order to unravel the intricate pattern of behavioural and psychological interferences that exist during fine motor coordination, and the processing of task-relevant information. Results demonstrate that during relatively basic task conditions, motor performance remained largely intact, while resourcing of attentional components of the cognitive task suffered dilution, resulting in poorer performance on the cognitive task. Only when one was required to update information in working memory (e.g. adding to a tally), did performance deficits in motor control occur. When the attentional components of the cognitive task were stressed (task-relevance was more ambiguous), motor performance deficits occurred. In sum, the load associated with referring to information held in working memory, and the updating of information held in working memory, introduces deficits in fine motor coordination, and maintaining accuracy during motor coordination results in modulations to the resourcing of attentional components during a basic cognitive task. These findings demonstrate a bi-directional interference pattern that is asymmetric, and sensitive to the working memory load of the cognitive task being performed.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Baker, J.
Date: January 2021
Rights: This work is intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the owner of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 14 Mar 2022 15:25
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2022 15:25

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