Cognitive-motor Interaction During Wheelchair Propulsion

woman in wheelchair crossing a building lobby

Brief Background

Many activities of daily living require multi-tasking while navigating complex environments. Safely doing so requires a high level of coordination and control of many biological systems. These systems can be limited and/or altered by injury or disease, resulting in greater attentional demands of once simple tasks. While this phenomenon has been heavily studied in ambulatory adults, little has been done to understand the attentional demands of wheelchair propulsion and the influence of environmental complexity.

Current Study

This novel study is looking to understand the attentional demands of wheelchair propulsion for adult (18-65 years) manual wheelchair users (the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Institutional Review Board #22273). Participants will receive a $20.00 Amazon gift card for their voluntary completion of online surveys/questionnaires (~30 minutes) and one, in-person testing session (~1.5-hours in duration). Testing will be held on campus, and onsite parking will be made available. If transportation poses a significant barrier to your participation, we can work on traveling to your location to complete the testing. To be eligible for participation, an individual must:

  • be 18-65 years old,
  • utilize a manual wheelchair as my main form of mobility,
  • have ≥1 year(s) of experience with a manual wheelchair,
  • able to sit unsupported for ≥5 minutes,
  • have normal or corrected to normal hearing and vision,
  • able to read and speak English, and
  • currently not experiencing upper extremity pain/injury that impacts activities of daily living.

If you are interested and want to learn more, please contact the researchers at or 217-333-4650.