September 2015
Volume 15, Issue 12
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2015
Working Memory Deficits in Dynamic Sport Athletes with a History of Concussion Revealed by A Visual-Auditory Dual-Task Paradigm
Author Affiliations
  • Anthony Tapper
    Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo
  • Ewa Niechwiej-Szwedo
    Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo
  • David Gonzalez
    Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo
  • Eric Roy
    Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo
Journal of Vision September 2015, Vol.15, 1065. doi:10.1167/15.12.1065
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      Anthony Tapper, Ewa Niechwiej-Szwedo, David Gonzalez, Eric Roy; Working Memory Deficits in Dynamic Sport Athletes with a History of Concussion Revealed by A Visual-Auditory Dual-Task Paradigm. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):1065. doi: 10.1167/15.12.1065.

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      © 2017 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.

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Abstract

Processing and integrating multiple sensory inputs simultaneously plays a vital role in an athlete’s ability to plan and execute appropriate actions in dynamic environments. Previous research has shown that concussions affect an athlete’s processing capacity and ability to process multiple sensory inputs simultaneously. Few studies to date have considered the impact of previous concussions on information processing of visual and auditory input. It is important to understand information processing capacity in dynamic sports because athletes must divide their attention between visual and auditory stimuli and hold that information in memory to guide actions. We developed a study to examine processing capacity by using a visuospatial working memory test to exhaust attentional resources. We hypothesize that athletes with a history of concussion will have more difficulty allocating attentional resources to each task and thus, will perform significantly worse on a visual-auditory test. Participants were varsity hockey players (n=28; 15 females) 17 of whom had suffered at least one concussion. They completed 2 tasks: a visual working memory task (Corsi block test [CBT]) and an auditory task (tone discrimination). The computerized CBT was an 8-target serial recall test that involved encoding and recalling the location of targets in the order of presentation. The auditory task involved discriminating high (1000 Hz) and low (375 Hz) tones using a computer mouse. Each task was completed individually and then simultaneously with primary focus on the visual task. The main dependent measure was the auditory task cost associated with the dual-task performance. We found that auditory cost was significantly higher in participants with a history of concussion. These results indicate that athletes with a history of concussion have more difficulty with processing multiple sensory inputs simultaneously. This evidence suggests that a history of concussion may produce long-term effects that make an athlete susceptible to further injury.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015

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