Faculty Mentor

J. Dan McCarthy




Concussions and their neurobehavioral consequences are a recent focus of media attention. Recent work suggests that individuals with a self-reported history of concussions experience heterogeneous deficits in several domains, including motor control, attention, and working memory (e.g., Howell et al., 2018; Hudac et al., 2018). Here, we investigated the interplay of attentional and motor inhibition by combining a singleton paradigm with 3D reach tracking. Participants reached to an odd-shaped target (e.g., circle among diamonds); on half of trials, a salient, task-irrelevant, colored distractor (singleton) was present. Results indicate that individuals with a self-reported history of concussion showed impairments in attentional suppression of competing response options. Importantly, this effect was independent of the presence of salient (i.e., prominent) distractors in the display, counter to what is commonly observed in the singleton paradigm. No differences were observed between neurotypicals and individuals with a self-reported history of concussion during reach planning, suggesting their inhibitory motor control remains intact. These results support suggest that goal-directed reaching may be a sensitive and robust measure to delineate underlying cognitive and motor processes that result from concussion.




Psychological Sciences


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