2012-03-05Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2012.00039
Testing the Limits of Optimizing Dual-Task Performance in Younger and Older Adults
Impaired dual-task performance in younger and older adults can be improved with practice. Optimal conditions even allow for a (near) elimination of this impairment in younger adults. However, it is unknown whether such (near) elimination is the limit of performance improvements in older adults. The present study tests this limit in older adults under conditions of (a) a high amount of dual-task training and (b) training with simplified component tasks in dual-task situations. The data showed that a high amount of dual-task training in older adults provided no evidence for an improvement of dual-task performance to the optimal dual-task performance level achieved by younger adults. However, training with simplified component tasks in dual-task situations exclusively in older adults provided a similar level of optimal dual-task performance in both age groups. Therefore through applying a testing the limits approach, we demonstrated that older adults improved dual-task performance to the same level as younger adults at the end of training under very specific conditions.
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