Effects of Exercise and Mental Fatigue on Response Inhibition in Exercise-trained Versus Sedentary College Students
Grosz, Rachael Lorraine
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The purpose of this study was to determine if fitness levels of individuals affect cognitive function. This study seeks to show how response inhibition and accuracy are affected following a mentally fatiguing task. Response inhibition refers to the suppression of actions that are inappropriate and that interfere with goal driven behavior. Response inhibition in reference to the continuous performance task (CPT) is measured in false clicks. The tasks for the CPT were completed after either a controlled period of rest or moderate-intensity exercise. Subjects were either Georgia Tech Division I track athletes or students leading a sedentary lifestyle. All subjects participated in two test protocols. Athletic subjects completed the resting protocol first, while sedentary subjects completed the exercise protocol first. Subjects reported to the lab following an overnight fast. They completed an initial set of paper work and signed a consent form, filled out a 24 hour history form and completed a Profile of Moods States (POMS) and Visual Analog Scale (VAS) form. Subjects then took a 20-minute (CPT). The CPT is a neuropsychological test that measures an individual’s sustained and selective attention. The length of the test is 20 minutes in order to induce mental fatigue. The goal of the test is to click in a white box when the letter T is seen. Immediately after subjects filled out a secondary set of paperwork. Once paper work was complete subjects either rested or exercised for 35 minutes. If subject was classified as an athlete, trial 1 was rest, while trial 2 was exercise. If subject was classified as a sedentary student, trial 1 was exercise, and trial 2 was rest. After the subject completed either the cycling or resting portion they repeated the CPT for five minutes. It was hypothesized that that the effects of moderate exercise positively affect the subject’s performance on the CPT. I expect false clicks following the 5 minute CPT to be lower after exercising. I hypothesize that for both groups their accuracy should be higher after moderate cycling and that higher fitness level should decrease the level of mental fatigue experienced throughout the CPT.