Graduation Date

Spring 5-5-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Medical Sciences Interdepartmental Area

First Advisor

Joseph, Ka-Chun Siu, Ph.D.


Regular physical activity is beneficial for cognitive function of people at different ages. As a critical component of cognitive function, how attention allocation could be affected by regular physical activity is not widely studied. It would be meaningful to start with investigating the effects of physical activity on attention allocation in young population, and further extend the research to other age populations, eg. middle aged and older adults. In this study, a validated and reliable short questionnaire was used to assess young, healthy subjects’ physical activity level. Dual tasks including walking tasks on treadmill and secondary cognitive tasks were conducted to investigate subjects’ performance. Different difficulty levels of walking tasks are normal-based and narrow-based walking. Gait parameters were computed and compared to assess gait performance. Modified attention allocation index (mAAI) was calculated for each gait parameter to assess attention allocation capacity. Results showed that subjects with regular physical activity had longer stride length, shorter stride time, longer step width and higher heel elevation. Furthermore, results showed higher correlation coefficient with mAAI of subjects who are more physically active in stride length and heel elevation compared with group who are less physically active. To summarize, regular physical activity improves gait performance and enhances capacity to allocate attention in young, healthy adults.