Previous work focused on cognitive workload assessment suggests EEG spectral content and component amplitudes of the event-related potential (ERP) waveform may index mental effort and attentional reserve, respectively. Although few studies have assessed attentional reserve and mental effort during upper-extremity performance, none have employed a combined approach to measure cognitive workload during locomotion. Therefore, by systematically considering ERPs, spectral content and importantly their combination, this study aimed to examine whether concurrent changes in spectral content and ERPs could collectively serve as an index of cognitive workload during locomotion. Specifically, ERP and EEG biomarkers were assessed as participants performed a cognitive task under two levels of difficulty (easy or hard) and two conditions (seated or walking). Changes in attentional reserve and mental effort appeared to collectively index cognitive workload under varying demands due to changes in task difficulty or performance conditions. This work can inform cognitive workload assessment in patient populations with gait deficiencies for future applications.
- Attentional reserve
- Ecologically valid human performance
- Event-related potentials
- Mental effort and workload
- Spectral power