Effect of cognitive demand during training on acquisition, retention and transfer of a postural skill

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The study examined whether attentional demands of a concurrent cognitive task during balance training affect the acquisition, retention and transfer of a postural control skill. Single-leg balance was evaluated in 64 volunteers (mean age 24.0 years, SD 3.10 years) while performing either a cognitive task requiring little attention (forward counting) or a highly demanding cognitive task (arithmetic manipulation) following three days of training. Skill retention was evaluated two days following the cessation of training, and transfer was determined by changes in the untrained extremity. Three training sessions induced decreases in mean sway velocity and amplitude variability. Skill retention was enhanced in the group trained under conditions with greater attentional demands, suggesting that diverting attention away from the postural task and allowing learning to involve more automatic processes may enhance the learning of such tasks. Practice induced similar changes in the trained and untrained extremities following both training protocols.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-141
Number of pages16
JournalHuman Movement Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author would like to thank Liat Hubel for her assistance in data collection and Dr. Elliot Sprecher for his assistance in data analysis. The research was supported by a grant from the Dean of the Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Studies at the University of Haifa, Israel.


  • Attention
  • Control
  • Posture
  • Retention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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