How am I doing? Performance feedback mitigates the effects of mental fatigue on endurance exercise performance

Neil Dallaway, Sean Yeo, Chris Ring

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Mental fatigue induced by an earlier cognitive task can impair performance on a subsequent physical task. The current study investigated whether such performance impairment could be mitigated by performance feedback. In an experimental sequential-task design, 63 sport science students completed a series of three tasks: 5-min physical (pre-test), 20-min cognitive, 5-min physical (post-test). Participants were randomly allocated to one of three groups: feedback (n = 23), no feedback (n = 20), control (n = 20). The physical tasks, which assessed force production during a self-paced rhythmic handgrip task as a measure of physical endurance performance, were performed with (feedback group) or without (no feedback group, control group) visual performance feedback. The cognitive tasks involved either completing a 2-back memory task to induce mental fatigue (feedback and no feedback groups) or watching a didactic film (control group). Self-report measures (fatigue, exertion, vigor, motivation) were collected throughout. The 2-back cognitive task increased mental fatigue, mental exertion and general fatigue in the feedback and no feedback groups compared to the control group. Relative to the pre-test physical task, post-test endurance performance declined in the no feedback group (−14.4%) but did not change in the control (−2.6%) and feedback (−2.4%) groups. This mitigation of performance effect was not accompanied by parallel changes in fatigue, exertion, vigor, or motivation. In conclusion, visual performance feedback mitigates the negative effects of mental fatigue on physical endurance performance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102210
Number of pages7
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Early online date1 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2022

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