The Association between High Neuroticism-Low Extraversion and Dual-Task Performance during Walking while Talking in Non-demented Older Adults

Brittany C. LeMonda, Jeannette R. Mahoney, Joe Verghese, Roee Holtzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


The Walking While Talking (WWT) dual-task paradigm is a mobility stress test that predicts major outcomes, including falls, frailty, disability, and mortality in aging. Certain personality traits, such as neuroticism, extraversion, and their combination, have been linked to both cognitive and motor outcomes. We examined whether individual differences in personality dimensions of neuroticism and extraversion predicted dual-task performance decrements (both motor and cognitive) on a WWT task in non-demented older adults. We hypothesized that the combined effect of high neuroticism-low extraversion would be related to greater dual-task costs in gait velocity and cognitive performance in non-demented older adults. Participants (N = 295; age range, = 65-95 years; female = 164) completed the Big Five Inventory and WWT task involving concurrent gait and a serial 7's subtraction task. Gait velocity was obtained using an instrumented walkway. The high neuroticism-low extraversion group incurred greater dual-task costs (i.e., worse performance) in both gait velocity {95% confidence interval (CI) [-17.68 to -3.07]} and cognitive performance (95% CI [-19.34 to -2.44]) compared to the low neuroticism-high extraversion group, suggesting that high neuroticism-low extraversion interferes with the allocation of attentional resources to competing task demands during the WWT task. Older individuals with high neuroticism-low extraversion may be at higher risk for falls, mobility decline and other adverse outcomes in aging. (JINS, 2015, 21, 519-530).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-530
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 15 2015



  • Aging
  • Cognition
  • Dual-tasking
  • Gait
  • Mobility
  • Personality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this