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BioMed Research International - Volume 2015 2015, Article ID 591475, 10 pages -

Research Article

Department of Physical Therapy, Arizona School of Health Sciences, A.T. Still University, Mesa, AZ 85206, USA

Department of Physical Therapy, School of Health Technology and Management, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA

Received 16 September 2014; Revised 23 February 2015; Accepted 3 March 2015

Academic Editor: Erwin van Wegen

Copyright © 2015 Tara L. McIsaac et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The study of dual task interference has gained increasing attention in the literature for the past 35 years, with six MEDLINE citations in 1979 growing to 351 citations indexed in 2014 and a peak of 454 cited papers in 2013. Increasingly, researchers are examining dual task cost in individuals with pathology, including those with neurodegenerative diseases. While the influence of these papers has extended from the laboratory to the clinic, the field has evolved without clear definitions of commonly used terms and with extreme variations in experimental procedures. As a result, it is difficult to examine the interference literature as a single body of work. In this paper we present a new taxonomy for classifying cognitive-motor and motor-motor interference within the study of dual task behaviors that connects traditional concepts of learning and principles of motor control with current issues of multitasking analysis. As a first step in the process we provide an operational definition of dual task, distinguishing it from a complex single task. We present this new taxonomy, inclusive of both cognitive and motor modalities, as a working model; one that we hope will generate discussion and create a framework from which one can view previous studies and develop questions of interest.

Author: Tara L. McIsaac, Eric M. Lamberg, and Lisa M. Muratori



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