Effects of a cognitive dual task on variability and local dynamic stability in sustained repetitive arm movements using principal component analysis: A pilot study
Number of pages
SourceExperimental Brain Research, 236, 6, (2018), pp. 1611-1619
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC CO
Experimental Brain Research
SubjectAction, intention, and motor control; DI-BCB_DCC_Theme 2: Perception, Action and Control
In many daily jobs, repetitive arm movements are performed for extended periods of time under continuous cognitive demands. Even highly monotonous tasks exhibit an inherent motor variability and subtle fluctuations in movement stability. Variability and stability are different aspects of system dynamics, whose magnitude may be further affected by a cognitive load. Thus, the aim of the study was to explore and compare the effects of a cognitive dual task on the variability and local dynamic stability in a repetitive bimanual task. Thirteen healthy volunteers performed the repetitive motor task with and without a concurrent cognitive task of counting aloud backwards in multiples of three. Upper-body 3D kinematics were collected and postural reconfigurations - the variability related to the volunteer’s postural change - were determined through a principal component analysis-based procedure. Subsequently, the most salient component was selected for the analysis of (1) cycle-to-cycle spatial and temporal variability, and (2) local dynamic stability as reflected by the largest Lyapunov exponent. Finally, end-point variability was evaluated as a control measure. The dual cognitive task proved to increase the temporal variability and reduce the local dynamic stability, marginally decrease endpoint variability, and substantially lower the incidence of postural reconfigurations. Particularly, the latter effect is considered to be relevant for the prevention of work-related musculoskeletal disorders since reduced variability in sustained repetitive tasks might increase the risk of overuse injuries.
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