Limited research has examined attentional requirements of walking at various speeds. Twenty young adults were asked to walk 10 m at their preferred pace, 30% faster or 30% slower while verbally responding "top" as fast as possible to random auditory stimuli. Slow walking demonstrated significantly longer reaction time (RT; 457 ± 91 ms) than preferred (423 ± 80 ms) and fast (396 ± 73 ms) walking speeds, F(2, 38) = 13.4, p <.001; η2p =.414. Walking at a preferred pace also led to longer RT than walking at a fast pace (p <.05). Slower RT during slow walking may be attributed to increased task complexity, energy requirements and equilibrium demands. Faster RTs during fast walking could be due to familiarity of the task, higher arousal levels, and similar task instructions compared to slower speeds.
- attentional demands
- reaction time
- walking speed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience