Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2018

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Integrative Physiology

First Advisor

David Sherwood

Second Advisor

Alena Grabowski

Third Advisor

Randolf DiDomenico

Abstract

Abstract

This research study was conducted to test the effects of internal and external focus of attention (FOA) on dual motor task performance and attentional load. A balance task and dart throwing task were performed simultaneously under four different focus conditions, where the focus was directed internally or externally to each task. Balance performance was measured by the variation of position in the x-direction and the y-direction in centimeters, collected using a Wii Balance Board. Dart throwing performance was measured in terms of accuracy and consistency. After each throw the location of the dart in the x-direction and y-direction from the origin was measured in centimeters. Fifteen dart throws were made in each condition for a total of 60 trials per subject (n =28). The findings showed that there was a significant effect of FOA on dart performance, regardless of task, an external FOA resulted in superior performance relative to an internal FOA. When balancing under an external FOA an improvement in dart performance was seen, suggesting that an external FOA lowers the attentional load of the task allowing for enhanced secondary task performance. There was a lack of evidence in support of the constrained action hypothesis during the balance task. Examination on the impacts of FOA on dual motor task performance and attentional load is a fairly new area

Included in

Motor Control Commons

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