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The fatigue effects of sustained concentration on visual performance

1 May 1991


Certain functions of the visual system may be affected by sustained cognitive demand tasks which are common in non-dynamic sports such as pistol shooting, diving, golf and others. 31 undergraduate and 9 graduate students from Pacific University were visually evaluated before and after a thirty-minute period of intense cognitive activity. The test battery consisted of four visual evaluation areas: Contrast sensitivity, stereosensitivity, fixation disparity, and a perceptual speed task. A set of 480 simple addition and subtraction equations were used as a cognitive task to induce fatigue. Data analysis revealed significant differences in post-fatigue trials in all areas evaluated except contrast sensitivity. It was found in post-fatigue trials that fixation disparity became less exo, perceptual abilities on a speed task improved, and stereosensitivity decreased. These changes were attributed to a heightened cognitive level secondary to the mental task. It was the goal of this study to simulate non-dynamic sport conditions by inducing mental fatigue. The visual changes found in this study may contribute to inconsistent performance in non-dynamic sports which emphasize concentration that induces mental fatigue.


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