Selective attention is resistant to high intensity exercise and musical distraction
The effects of high-intensity exercise on cognitive performance are not fully understood. Music can affect physiological responses to exercise which may also affect cognitive performance. The aim of this study was to determine if music could impact cognitive performance after a bout of high-intensity exercise. Eleven subjects completed the Stroop test after a short (14 min) bout of high-intensity interval exercise while listening to either Classical, Rock, or No Music. Subjects completed the Brunel Music Rating Inventory after listening to Classical or Rock music during a control (no exercise) session. The order of testing was randomized. There was no significant main effect of either exercise (F(1,2) = 0.585, p = 0.524) or music (F(2,4) = 1.939, p = 0.258) on Stroop reaction time, nor was there a significant interaction effect of exercise and music on Stroop reaction time (F(2,4) = 0.045, p = .956). There was a significant main effect of exercise on heart rate response (F(1,2) = 564.005, p < 0.01). Mean heart rates were consistently higher during exercise (HRex= 148.2 ± 14.7) than during control sessions (HRcon= 76.1 ± 9.1). There was no other significant main effect for music (F(2,4) = 2.537, p = 0.194) or interaction effect of music and exercise (F(2,4) = 2.980, p = 0.161) on heart rate response. The results of the present study suggest that selective attention is resistant to the effects of a short high-intensity interval exercise bout and the distraction of either classical or rock music. The results also suggest that music may lower the average heart rate during high-intensity interval exercise.
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