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Biol Psychol. 2003 May;63(2):163-78.

Attentional focus influences the walk-run transition in human locomotion.

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Department of Kinesiology, College of Health and Human Development, Pennsylvania State University, 201 Henderson Building, University Park, PA 16802-6501, USA.


This study tested the hypothesis that cognitive perceptual processes are involved in determining the walk-run transition in human locomotion. In a dual-task paradigm, 12 healthy male participants (aged 21.8+/-2.4 years) walked and ran on a treadmill while solving mental arithmetic (MA) organized in two levels of difficulty (easy and hard). Speed was increased over seven increments of 0.1 ms(-1) while the walk-run transition speed (TS) and central and peripheral ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were recorded. MA performance was maintained between control (no locomotion) and treadmill conditions and participants rated hard MA as more difficult and more mentally engaging than easy MA. The TS increased during both levels of MA, although RPE values did not reflect psychological attenuation across the transition. Together, these results support the hypothesis that cognitive load distracts attentional focus from physiological cues that contribute to triggering human gait transitions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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