Dual-task effects of simulated lane navigation and story recall in older adults with and without memory impairment.
While driving is a complex task, it becomes relatively automatic over time although unfamiliar situations require increased cognitive effort. Much research has examined driving risk in cognitively impaired elders and found little effect. This study assessed whether mildly memory impaired elders made disproportionate errors in driving or story recall, under simultaneous simulated driving and story recall. Forty-six healthy (61% women; mean age = 76.4) and 15 memory impaired (66% women, mean age = 79.4) elders participated. Cognitive status was determined by neuropsychological performance. Results showed that during dual-task conditions, participants stayed in lane more, and recalled stories more poorly, than when they did the tasks separately. Follow-up analysis revealed that verbatim recall, in particular, was reduced while driving for healthy participants. While memory impaired participants performed more poorly than healthy controls on both tasks, cognitive status was not associated with greater dual-task costs when driving and story recall were combined.
Cook, SE; Sisco, SM; Marsiske, M
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