Advertisement

Dual-Task Assessment of Attentional Capacities in Aging and Dementia

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

Summary

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.

Keywords

Dual Task Tracking Task Attentional Capacity Personnel Requirement Blink Frequency 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Calloway, E.: The pharmacology of human information processing.Psycho-physiology 20, 359–370 (1983).Google Scholar
  2. Damos, D.L., and Smist, T.E.: Individual Differences in Dual-Task Performance. Technical Report M006, Naval Biodynamics Laboratory, New Orleans, 1980.Google Scholar
  3. Eisdorfer, C., and Cohen, D.: The assessment of organic impairment in the aged: In search of a new mental status examination. In Burdock, E.I., Sudilovsky, A., and Gershon, S. (Eds.), The Behavior of Psychiatric Patients. New York: Marcel Dekker, 1982.Google Scholar
  4. Hasher, L., and Zacks, R.T.: Automatic and effortful processes in memory.Journal of Experimental Psychology (General) 108, 356–388 (1979).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Hunt, E., and Lansman, M.: Individual differences in attention. In Sternberg, R.J. (Ed.), Advances in the Psychology of Human Intelligence, Volume 1. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1982.Google Scholar
  6. Kahneman, D.: Attention and Effort. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1973Google Scholar
  7. Lansman, M., and Hunt, E.: Individual differences in secondary task performance.Memory and Cognition 10, 10–24 (1982).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Navon, D., and Gopher, D.: On the economy of the human-processing system.Psychological Review 86, 214–255 (1979).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Navon, D., and Gopher, D.: Task difficulty, resources, and dual-task performance. In Nickerson, R.S. (Ed.), Attention and Performance, Vol. 8, pp. 297–315. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1980.Google Scholar
  10. Norman, D.A., and Bobrow, D.B.: On data-limited and resource-limited processes.Cognitive Psychology 7, 44–64 (1975).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Parasuraman, R.: Memory load and event rate control sensitivity decrements in sustained attention.Science 205, 924–927 (1979).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Rabbitt, P.: Talking to the old.New Society 55, 140–141, 959 (1981).Google Scholar
  13. Rabinowitz, J.C., Craik, F.I.M., and Ackerman, B.P.: A processing resource account of age differences in recall.Canadian Journal of Psychology 36, 325–344 (1982).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Taylor, J.L .: The Effects of Benzodiazepines on Cognition and Performance. Ph.D Thesis, Department of Psychology, University of Washington, 1982 (unpublished)Google Scholar
  15. Thompson, L.W.: Periodic “lapses” in attentional processes: A possible correlate of memory impairment in the elderly. In Poon, L. et al. (Eds.), New Directions in Memory and Aging, pp. 239–242. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1980.Google Scholar
  16. Tinklenberg, J.R., and Taylor, J.L.: Assessment of drug effects on human memory functions. In Butters, N., and Squire, L.R. (Eds.), The Neuropsychology of Memory, pp. 213–223. New York: Guilford Press, 1984.Google Scholar
  17. Tinklenberg, J.R., Taylor, J.L., Peabody, C.A., Redington, D., and Gibson, E.: Dual task performance measures in geriatric psychopharmacology.Psycho-pharmacology Bulletin 20, 441–444 (1984).Google Scholar
  18. Wickens, C.D.: The structure of attentional resources. In Nickerson, R.S. (Ed.), Attention and Performance, Vol. 8, pp. 239–257. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1980.Google Scholar
  19. Wickens, C., Kramer, A., Vanasse, L., and Donchin, E.: Performance of concurrent tasks: A psychophysiological analysis of the reciprocity of information-processing resources.Science 221, 1080–1082 (1983).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Yesavage, J.A., and Rose, T.L.: Concentration and mnemonic training in elderly subjects with memory complaints: A study of combined therapy and order effects.Psychiatry Research 9, 157–167 (1983).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations