Cognitive control exertion leads to reductions in peak power output and as well as increased perceived exertion on a graded exercise test to exhaustion Journal Articles uri icon

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  • We investigated effects of a brief (10.5 min) cognitively demanding task on graded exercise test performance. Untrained, university students (N = 15) completed two graded exercise tests in counterbalanced, randomised order. One test was preceded by restful viewing of a documentary video (control); the other by a stop-signal task. Cardiorespiratory functions and perceived exertion were monitored during exercise. Peak power output (W) was lower following the stop-signal task (M = 240.03, SD = 53.37) compared to control (M = 246.03, SD = 52.60), P = 0.002, ηP2 = 0.493, as was [Formula: see text] (P = 0.042, Cohen's d = 0.55). Perceived exertion was significantly higher at 50% (d = 0.77) and 75% (d = 0.83) of iso-time following the cognitive task (Ps ≤ 0.01). Results are consistent with research showing negative carryover effects of cognitively demanding tasks on whole-body endurance performance. Results also support the psychobiological model of exercise as performance of the cognitive task did not affect perceived exertion when exercise task demands were lower, but lead to greater perceived exertion and earlier withdrawal of effort at higher levels of exercise task demand. Findings have implications for understanding psychological determinants of exercise performance and conditions that may lead to underestimation of [Formula: see text].


  • Zering, Jennifer C
  • Brown, Denver MY
  • Graham, Jeffrey D
  • Bray, Steven

publication date

  • September 17, 2017