The aim of this study was to examine the association between conscious monitoring and control of movements (i.e., movement specific reinvestment) and visuo-motor control during walking by older adults.
The Movement Specific Reinvestment Scale (MSRS; Masters, Eves, & Maxwell, 2005) was administered to ninety-two community-dwelling older adults, aged 65-81 years, who were required to walk along a 4.8-meter walkway and step on the middle of a target as accurately as possible. Participants’ movement kinematics and gaze behavior were measured during approach to the target and when stepping on it.
High scores on the MSRS were associated with prolonged stance and double support times during approach to the stepping target, and less accurate foot placement when stepping on the target. No associations between MSRS and gaze behavior were observed.
Older adults with a high propensity for movement specific reinvestment seem to need more time to “plan” future stepping movements, yet show worse stepping accuracy than older adults with a low propensity for movement specific reinvestment. Future research should examine whether older adults with a higher propensity for reinvestment are more likely to display movement errors that lead to falling.