OBJECTIVE. We examined the effect of switching from a familiar to an unfamiliar setting on household task performance in healthy adults. We also examined the influence of the cognitive functions abstract reasoning and memory on the ability to adapt to different environments.
METHOD. Thirty healthy adults were observed in two different settings while they performed two daily tasks. We evaluated process skill abilities in task performance, time needed to perform each task, memory functioning, and abstract reasoning.
RESULTS. Performance of both tasks required significantly more time in the unfamiliar kitchen. Scores on process skill abilities were significantly lower in the unfamiliar kitchen. We found no associations between environmental effects and abstract reasoning or memory.
CONCLUSION. We found environmental effects on task performance in healthy adults. These findings have important implications for rehabilitation practice. Addressing facilitation of transfer of training effects to familiar environments is of great importance to rehabilitation programs.