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Table 1 Proposed taxonomy for cognitive dual tasks

From: A taxonomy of cognitive tasks to evaluate cognitive-motor interference on spatiotemoporal gait parameters in older people: a systematic review and meta-analysis

A range of DT paradigms have been used to examine age-related changes in motor performance and cognitive capacities, and to understand the relationship between performance in motor and cognitive tasks [24]. Cognitive tasks can be classified according to their demands and the mental processes involved to execute them. Based on the most commonly used tasks in DT-studies, the following domains were defined; each domain is distinct from the other domains at a behavioral and/or cognitive level according to definitions of Colcombe and Kramer [25] and Al-Yahya et al. [1]:
 • Reaction time tasks (processing speed) refer to tasks that involve the measurement of elapsed time between a sensory stimulus and a behavioral response [26]. These tasks are used to measure processing speed, where a slowed processing might underlie an attentional deficit [27]; e.g., a simple reaction time test to press a button following a light stimulus.
 • Controlled processing tasks refer to tasks that involve decision making in addition to processing speed; e.g., to press a button when a star is presented on a screen.
 • Visuospatial tasks refer to task that require detecting or processing visual information; e.g. Benton Visual retention task [28] or naming the location of a stimulus.
 • Mental tracking tasks refer to tasks that require holding information in the mind while performing a mental process [27]. These tasks have been usually used to examine sustained attention and information processing speed [27, 29]. The most common mental tracking tasks are:
  a. Arithmetic tasks refer to tasks that require solving a mathematical equation or counting backwards in threes or sevens.
  b. Verbal fluency tasks refer to tasks that require word production, either spontaneously or under pre-specified search conditions; these tasks have recently been used to examine executive functions [26, 27].
 • Working memory tasks refer to tasks that require holding information in the mind which is available for processing [30]. The differentiation between working memory and mental tracking tasks was adapted from brain imaging studies [31]. Tasks that require holding information only, are categorized into working memory tasks, while those that require holding information plus manipulation belong to the mental tracking category [31, 32]; e.g., a n-back task.
 • Discrimination tasks refer to tasks that require selective attention to a specific stimulus or feature and respond accordingly; they have been usually used to examine attention and response inhibition such as the Stroop paradigm [33] or a Go or no-go task.