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The effects of high intensity exercise on cognitive performance are not fully understood. Music can affect physiological responses to exercise which may also impact cognitive performance. The aim of this study was to determine if music could impact cognitive performance after a bout of high intensity exercise. METHODS: Twelve subjects (n=7 males, n=5 females, 20.3 ± 1.7 y; 72.2 ± 14.9 kg; 1.70 ± 0.09 m) completed the Stroop test after a short (12 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. Order of testing was randomized. RESULTS: There was no significant difference in Stroop effect between musical conditions without exercise (No Music 166.6 ± 118.17 ms; Classical 138.42 ± 86 ms; Rock 139.67 ± 74.47 ms). There was also no significant difference in Stroop effect between musical conditions with exercise (No Music 132.39 ± 88.93 ms; Classical 137.05 ± 61.74 ms; Rock 102.6 ± 83.1 ms). There was also no significant difference in Stroop effect between control and exercise for the different music conditions. There was, however, a significant interaction effect of music and exercise on heart rate response (p<0.01), with exercise HR being significantly lower during either music condition (Classical [146.41 ± 12.59ms], Rock [148.92 ± 12.30ms]) than without music (151 ± 16.66ms). CONCLUSIONS: 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 average heart rate during high intensity interval exercise.


Faculty Advisor: Dr. Jo Morrison



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