Effects of Cognitive Control Exertion and Motor Coordination on Task Self-Efficacy and Muscular Endurance Performance in Children
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Emerging research shows a strong connection between brain areas governing cognition and motor behavior. Indeed, research based on the Strength Model has shown that people perform worse on physical tasks following the exertion of high (compared to low) cognitive control which has been attributed to the dysregulation of neurophysiological processes within areas of the brain responsible for cognition. Yet, research investigating the negative aftereffects of high cognitive control (HCC) exertion on task performance has not considered the potential role of areas governing motor behavior. The present study investigated the effects of HCC exertion on task self-efficacy and exercise performance in children. A secondary purpose was to investigate whether motor coordination influences the change in exercise performance differently following low versus HCC exertion. Participants (N = 70) performed two isometric handgrip endurance trials separated by a Stroop task, which was either congruent low cognitive control (LCC) or incongruent (HCC). Motor coordination was assessed prior to the first endurance trial. Task self-efficacy for performing the second endurance trial was assessed following the Stroop task. Participants in the HCC condition reported lower task self-efficacy and showed a reduction in endurance exercise performance. Task self-efficacy mediated the cognitive control-performance relationship. Participants scoring lower on motor coordination showed the greatest declines in exercise performance following HCC, whereas motor coordination did not affect performance following LCC. The results of this study provide evidence that task self-efficacy and exercise performance are also negatively affected in children following HCC, and interestingly, these effects are exacerbated among those scoring lower in motor coordination. We recommend future research investigate motor coordination as a potential mechanism for the reductions in both cognitive and physical task performance following the prolonged exertion of HCC.
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