Dual-Task Assessment of Attentional Capacities in Aging and Dementia

  • Jared R. Tinklenberg
  • Joy L. Taylor
  • Terry P. Miller
  • Dana Redington
Conference paper


This chapter discusses the theoretical background for using dual-task methods to measure human attentional capacities, and describes in detail a microcomputerized dual-task procedure useful in studying elderly individuals. The two tasks in this procedure (pursuit-tracking of a randomly moving target on a videoscreen, and visual monitoring of a stimulus for changes in configuration) are first performed separately and then simultaneously. A decrement in the dual-task performance relative to the single-task conditions suggests that attentional capacities of the individual have been exceeded. Attractive features of this dual-task procedure for psychometric assessments in older individuals include good patient acceptance, minimal equipment and personnel requirements, adaptability to subjects with a wide range of abilities, and the capability for concurrent psychophysiologic measurements such as heart rate. It is predicted that computerized dual-task techniques will become an increasingly important aspect of future cognitive assessments of the elderly.


Dual Task Tracking Task Attentional Capacity Personnel Requirement Blink Frequency 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jared R. Tinklenberg
  • Joy L. Taylor
  • Terry P. Miller
  • Dana Redington

There are no affiliations available

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