Each participant used in a study differs completely from another; these differences need to be taken into account when carrying out research, to explain both links or anomolies between data collected from each individual. For our study into motor control and learning in older adults, we will need to discover a way to explore the individul differences, in order to explain what happens when the 'up and go' task takes takes different formats, and how people react to them.
Firstly, a reliable measure for individual differences needs to be established. There are hundreds of apporaches in research, and using previous studies I have selected a few that I think would be appropriate for the up and go task.
The mini mental state exam (MMSE) is a 30-point questionnaire that looks at arithmatic, memory and orientation all in the space of around 10 minutes. It is currently used as a screen for dementia or as an indicator of cognitive function, and was developed by Folstein (1975). Scores of above 25 indicate the particiapnt is of sound mind, whereas scors below 9 indicate severe cognitive impairment. This would help research as it would be made clear how cognitive functionality affects how a task is carried out.
Furthermore, Rolfson et al. (2006) developed a valid and reliable version of the Edmonson Frail scale, where frailty as a seperate varible from disability and ageing. A number of tests were carried out on each patient, all aged over 65. The 'up and go' task was included, to test function and mobility, and a clock task to test for cognitive impairment. The results from both of the tasks helped give an indication of both cognitive and physical function, and the results show that despite people being on a similar level of cognitive function, that didn't neccessarily mean they were similar in physical function. this highlights that every individuals needs and personal details differ, and that it is of utmost importance to take these differences into account when trying to correlate data.