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Understanding Cognition Through Neurophysiological Measures of Brain Activity Under Improved Ecological Validity Conditions
Investigating cognition during natural locomotion essentially embarks on investigating cognition in ecologically highly valid environments. The manipulation of complexity levels in the cognitive or motor domain in dual-task paradigms, additionally offers an insight into how the limited capacity of attentional resources are being allocated to each of the domains and what the priority allocation ruleset might look like. The purpose of the present article is to first present the pioneering study together with the advancements in technology and data analyses approaches that demonstrated the feasibility of recording human cognition while in motion using neurophysiological measures. In the main section, the present paper introduces selected studies that by making effort in increasing ecological validity, offer insights into the biomarkers of cognitive task performance while in locomotion, such as event-related potentials (ERPs) and oscillatory spectral power. Here, we particularly discuss (i) the P3 component of ERP, which is according to the literature associated with the process of focusing attention and indexing the available pool of attentional resource, and (ii) the spectral power of theta oscillations, which is thought to reflect mental effort or engagement during task performance.