The influence of task characteristics on younger and older adult motor overflow

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Addamo, Patricia K, Farrow, Maree, Hoy, K, Bradshaw, John ORCID: 0000-0002-8714-5231 and Georgiou-Karistianis, N (2009) The influence of task characteristics on younger and older adult motor overflow. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 62 (2). pp. 239-247. ISSN 1747-0218 (print) 1747-0226 (online)


This study investigated the influence of attentional and motor demands on motor overflow in 17 healthy young (18–35 years) and 17 older adults (60–80 years). Participants performed a finger pressing task by exerting either 33% or 66% of their maximal force output using their dominant or nondominant hand. Overflow was concurrently recorded in the passive hand. Attention was manipulated via a tactile stimulus presented to one or both hands for certain trials. Results showed that older adults exhibited greater overflow than young adults and that the effect of target force was exacerbated in older adults. Further, only older adult overflow was increased when tactile stimulation was directed to one or both hands. Increased overflow in older adults may result from bilateral cortical activation that is influenced by increased task demands. To perform comparatively to younger adults, older adults may compensate for age-related brain changes by recruiting an increased cortical network.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1080/17470210802269217
Official URL
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science
Historical > FOR Classification > 1701 Psychology
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL)
Keywords ResPubID22001. ageing, bilateral activation, motor overflow, motor skills, task demands
Citations in Scopus 26 - View on Scopus
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