Physical-Cognitive Multitasking Performance Decrements as a Function of Modality and Risk to Postural Control

Kenneth Jackson

Advisor: William S Helton, PhD, Department of Psychology

Committee Members: Tyler Shaw, Patrick McKnight

Online Location, Online
November 03, 2022, 01:00 PM to 03:00 PM


Multiple theories demonstrated that the interaction between physical and cognitive tasks performed simultaneously often result in increased performance across both types of tasks, particularly due to greater availability of physiological resources. One issue regarding the generalizability of the theories asserted from these bodies of literature is that more often than not, the studies conducted were performed in controlled laboratory settings, free of any of the additional factors that could affect multitasking performance in real world settings. What few empirical studies that have examined performance in real world settings, have demonstrated that multitasking performance models, especially in more physically complex contexts, cannot be validated in a single experiment as these models are often multidimensional, dependent on many parameters such as task demands, expertise, and modality of cognitive information presentation. This research seeks to expand on the previous research conducted by Helton and colleagues through 3 studies examining physical-cognitive multitasking performance across varying levels of risk to postural control for physical tasks and presentation modality for cognitive tasks. Results indicate that physical-cognitive multitasking performance decreases in more realistic settings and that parameters of the tasks being performed as well as modalities of information presentation impact performance.