Computerized cognitive assessment is becoming increasingly more common in clinical neuropsychological assessment and cognitive neuropsychological research. A number of computerized tasks now exist to assess multitasking abilities which are essential for everyday tasks such as cooking, shopping or driving, but little is known about whether these tasks are appropriate for assessing older adults’ multitasking. The present study directly compared age effects on multitasking when assessed using a computerized and a prop-based version of Craik and Bialystok’s (2006) Breakfast task. Twenty participants aged 18 to 24 years and 20 participants aged 60 to 79 years were assessed on both versions of the Breakfast task. While age-related decrements in multitasking performance were found using the computerized task, significant age differences were not found on the majority of measures when the prop-based version was administered. The results suggest that age-related deficits in multitasking will be less when more contextualized, non-computer based tasks are used.
- breakfast task
- ecological validity