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The Effects of Physiological Stress Levels on Cognitive PerformanceQuon, Jonathan; Gaines, Hillary; Jules, Naomie; Holland, Maleah; Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences (2017-03)Introduction: Challenging cognitive tests, such as academic exams, often fuel test anxiety which may compromise cognitive performance and result in lower test scores. The purpose of our study was to determine the effects of a short moderate or vigorous aerobic exercise session (walking/running) on cognitive performance. Methods: 6 healthy male and female subjects, aged 18-30 years old, were equally and randomly divided into 3 groups: high intensity exercise (75% MaxHR), moderate intensity exercise (50% MaxHR), and rest (sat with concentration grid). A Random Test (reaction time measure), Memory Test (short-term memory and attention span measure), and Stroop Test (reaction time and attention span measure) were performed on the Card Sorting Box before and after the exercise intervention. The intervention lasted 10 minutes including a warm-up and cool-down. Results: No differences occurred between the 3 groups in pre- to post-intervention Card Sorting Box measures for the Random Test, Memory Test, or Stroop Test. However, a trend towards significance (p = 0.057) occurred for the % correct in the Memory Test when comparing pre- to post-intervention scores; vigorous intensity exercise demonstrated higher scores compared to moderate intensity exercise (p = 0.031) and sitting quietly to study (p =046). Conclusion: This study demonstrates that participating in short-duration vigorous and/ or moderate exercise or utilizing more traditional study techniques, such as sitting quietly to study, results in similar cognitive performance outcomes and therefore does not provide a significant cognitive benefit. However, due to small sample size, more participants are needed for conclusive findings.
Physiological Stress Levels on Cognitive FunctionQuon, Jonathan; Department of Kinesiology (Augusta University, 2018-12)Regular exercise has been proven to reduce insulin resistance, increase blood flow, release neurotransmitters, and lead to many more health and cognitive benefits. However, studies investigating the immediate effects of a physical stress or on cognitive functioning are limited. In theory, cognitive reactions could speed up immediately following exercise due to enhanced nutrient delivery via increased blood flow, or cognitive reactions could slow down immediately after exercise due to physiological fatigue. These contradicting theories create much interest and concern for those who need to be functioning at their full cognitive potential. For instance, should college students who are studying for large periods of time take breaks to exercise, or would exercise be harmful to their mental functioning? The purpose of my project is to test how cognitive function is affected immediately following exercise. I predict that lower intensity aerobic exercise will boost mental performance, whereas high intensity anaerobic exercise will decrease mental performance.