The Effect of Mental Fatigue on the Planning and Preparation of Alerting and Orienting Attention Networks in Athlete Students; A Non-Controlled Clinical Trial

Document Type : Original Articles


1 PhD Student, Department of Cognitive Sciences and Behavior in sport, School of Sport Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Department of Cognitive Sciences and Behavior in Sport, School of Sport Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

3 Assistant Professor, Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran



Introduction: Mental fatigue following long-term mental activity is a reason for the performance decrement in sports. Considering the importance of the effect of mental fatigue on selective attention and performance of athletes, the present study aimed to determine the effect of mental fatigue on the effectiveness of alerting and orienting attention networks among athlete students.Materials and Methods: This quasi-experimental study with pre- and posttest design was done to collect the data from 22 athlete students selected using convenient sampling method. Attention network test was used to evaluate the effectiveness of alerting and orienting networks before and after mental fatigue. In addition, they performed the Stroop test for 60 minutes in order to create mental fatigue. Then, repeated measures ANOVA (3 × 2) was utilized for analyzing the data at the significance level of 0.05.Results: A significant increase in reaction time was observed in the speed processing of orienting network in mental fatigue (P = 0.016), while mental fatigue improved the reaction speed in the alerting network (P = 0.280). In addition, the error rate decreased in both alerting networks (P = 0.870) and orienting (P = 0.600), although it was not significant.Conclusion: It may be concluded that mental fatigue could alter cognitive performance and negatively affect both accuracy and speed of the alerting and orienting networks, due to its goal-directed and up-down control. Therefore, it seems that athlete students probably sacrifice the speed for maintaining accuracy in the orienting network, and reduce accuracy for maintaining speed in the alerting network.

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