Dual performance paradigms: their conceptual aspects
Introduction. Dual-task paradigms (or dual performance tasks) are involved in a wide variety of multiple activities in our daily lives, as they are considered an evolutionary advantage of the phylogeny that makes it possible to perform several tasks at the same time with an optimisation of the ‘neural resources’ compared to tasks that would otherwise be carried out as a single task.
Development. The literature related to three dual-task performance paradigms is reviewed: a) the cognitive/motor paradigm, referring to models that involve a task with a cognitive component and a task with a motor component; b) the motor/motor paradigm, referring to a motor task and a simultaneous motor task, and c) the cognitive/cognitive paradigm, in which a task with a cognitive component and a cognitive task are involved.
Conclusions. Dual tasks are an efficient tool for detecting mild cognitive impairment, as well as an ideal paradigm for rehabilitation intervention, given the increased attentional resources and executive functions involved in performing them. Neuroimaging can be a valuable tool that makes it possible to: a) locate the cognitive, motor and/or perceptual processes involved in the different dual performance paradigms; b) characterise the responses and function of specific brain signals in each of the tasks, and c) relate changes in neural activity to the efficacy of different intervention programmes.
Key words. Cognitive/cognitive. Cognitive/motor. Dual performance. Dual tasks. Executive functions. Motor/motor.