Tasks and environments that demand greater attention resources result in greater activation of the prefrontal cortex (PFC). To explore this effect in a naturalistic setting, we used functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to record the PFC activation of six undergraduate participants while they walked in a busy environment (attention-demanding) and quiet environment (non-attention-demanding). Walking speed was recorded as a behavioral correlate. Results indicated that there was no statistically significant difference in walking speed or cortical activity between busy and quiet conditions, though the trend was in favor of the hypotheses. This is likely because crowd density within each condition was not sufficiently consistent between participants and because the sample size was very small. Future study should anticipate data collection constraints by allowing more time for both individual and total data collection in order to collect a sample size with adequate statistical power.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Klaschus, Aimee L., "Prefrontal Cortical Activation in Naturalistic Walking" (2020). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 726.