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Journal Articles Human Movement Science Year : 2021

Effects of unintentional coordination on attentional load


The goal of this study was to evaluate the impact of unintentional (spontaneous) coordination on high attentional visual load. More precisely, we wondered whether such coordination could free up some attentional resources and help improve performance in other more demanding attentional tasks. An experiment was performed in which participant attentional allocation was challenged by performing three tasks simultaneously while simultaneously being induced to unintentional entrain to an environmental rhythm. The first task was an interception task associated with a Stroop test to increase their attentional load. The second task was a reaction time test to alarms in different modalities (auditory, visual and bimodal) which was used to assess participant attentional load. The third task was a motor task in which participants were asked to swing their legs at a preferred frequency. The interface background brightness intensity was either synchronized in real time using a bidirectional coupling to participant leg movement or the background brightness was not changing at all. Our results on the reaction time task demonstrated that participants exhibited better reaction times for alarms in the bimodal condition than in the auditory condition and lastly for the visual condition. Also, participants exhibited a lower reaction time to alarms when the background brightness was synchronizing with their leg regardless the alarm modality. Overall, our study suggests a beneficial effect of unintentional environmental coordination on attentional resource allocation and highlights the importance of bidirectionality in interaction.

Dates and versions

hal-03426176 , version 1 (12-11-2021)



Lise Aubin, Ghilès Mostafaoui, Richard Schmidt, Hélène Serré, Ludovic Marin. Effects of unintentional coordination on attentional load. Human Movement Science, 2021, 80, pp.102880. ⟨10.1016/j.humov.2021.102880⟩. ⟨hal-03426176⟩
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