Effects of the Presence of Obstacles on the Attentional Demand of Blind Navigation in Young and Elderly Subjects

Effects of the Presence of Obstacles on the Attentional Demand of Blind Navigation in Young and Elderly Subjects

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Title: Effects of the Presence of Obstacles on the Attentional Demand of Blind Navigation in Young and Elderly Subjects
Author: Richer, Natalie
Abstract: The ability to navigate with limited vision is a skill that is often employed in our daily lives. Navigating without vision to a remembered target has previously been studied. However, not much is known about the attention required to perform blind navigation. We examined the effect of aging and presence of obstacles on the attentional demands of blind navigation. We evaluated reaction time, navigation errors and average walking speed in an 8 meter walking path, with or without obstacles, in the absence of vision. Results showed that older participants had increased reaction time and increased linear distance travelled as opposed to young participants, that obstacles increased reaction time and decreased average walking speed in all participants, and that emitting the reaction time stimulus early in the trial increased the linear distance travelled. Interpretation of the results suggests that aging and presence of obstacles augments the attentional demands of blind navigation.
Date: 2012
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/22869
Supervisor: Lajoie, Yves
Paquet, Nicole
Faculty: Sciences de la santé / Health Sciences
Degree: MSc

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