Why is the explicit component of motor adaptation limited in elderly adults? [article]

Jean-Jacques Orban de Xivry, Koenraad Vandevoorde
2019 biorxiv/medrxiv   pre-print
The cognitive component of motor adaptation declines with aging. Yet, in other motor tasks, older adults appear to rely on cognition to improve their motor performance. It is unknown why older adults are not able to do so in motor adaptation. In order to solve this apparent contradiction, we tested the possibility that older adults require more cognitive resources in unperturbed reaching compared to younger adults, which leaves fewer resources available for the cognitive aspect of motor
more » ... on. Two cognitive-motor dual-task experiments were designed to test this. The cognitive load of unperturbed reaching was assessed via dual-task costs during the baseline period of visuomotor rotation experiments, which provided us with an estimation of the amount of cognitive resources used during unperturbed reaching. However, since we did not observe a link between dual-task costs and explicit adaptation in both experiments, we failed to confirm this hypothesis. Instead, we observed that explicit adaptation was mainly associated with visuospatial working memory capacity. This suggests that visuospatial working memory of an individual might be linked to the extent of explicit adaptation for young and older adults.
doi:10.1101/753160 fatcat:sthqp3jtebh67njoic4b5fq6ti