Temporal Anticipation Under Cognitive Stress

Pathmanathan K. Suppiah, Mohamad Razali Abdullah


The ability to produce performances at highest level under physically and emotionally demanding conditions underline the worth of a sportsperson. These stressful conditions places demands on the cognitive resources of the sportsperson; especially in anticipatory actions that require the allocation of cognitive resources. This study investigated the effects of cognitive stress on the temporal anticipation of a timing motor task. A repeated measures design was applied with two independent variables; cognitive stress and levels of difficulty, which included easy, intermediate and difficult. Study participants were 18 male and 18 female undergraduates of the Physical Education programme of Universiti Putra Malaysia. The experimental task involved performing a timing motor task across the three levels of difficulty, under two conditions as follows: (i) without cognitive stress, and (ii) under cognitive stress. Cognitive stress was induced via the continuous subtraction of two from a two-digit number. Participants performed the task individually and the sequence of the experimental task was counter-balanced. A two-way within subject ANOVA was performed to ascertain the effects of cognitive stress on the temporal anticipation of the timing motor task. Data yielded significant difference in means for the stress main effect [Λ = .64, F (1.35) = 19.89, p < 0.05]; and the task main effect [Λ = .84, F (2, 34) = 3.35, p < 0.05]. Post hoc comparisons produced a significant difference in the means of the performance of the timing motor task at all three levels of difficulty. Data showed that cognitive stress had an effect on the temporal anticipation of the timing motor task. These results are explained from attentional and the neuromotor noise perspectives. It was concluded that the significant difference in the performance of the experimental task was due to the competition for intentional resources and the decrease of the signal to noise ratio due to cognitive stress.


attention; cognitive stress; neuromotor noise; temporal anticipation

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15282/mohe.v1i0.6