Effect of acute exercise of differing intensities on simple and choice reaction and movement times

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Objective: The purpose of the present study was to examine the effect of acute, short-duration exercise on the performance of simple and choice visual reaction and movement times. Method: Following an incremental test to exhaustion to determine exercise intensities, 12 male participants completed simple and choice reaction tests on a cycle ergometer where both reaction time and movement time were measured, with each test being performed on a separate day. Tests were performed at rest, moderate, heavy and severe intensities. Result: For reaction time, a 2-way (reaction time complexity × exercise intensity) repeated measures Analysis of Variance demonstrated a significant interaction effect (p= 0.02) and polynomial contrasts demonstrated a linear effect for choice reaction time (p<0.05) (where choice reaction time decreased with increasing exercise intensity), but no significant effect for simple reaction time. For movement time, polynomial contrasts for exercise intensity showed a significant quadratic effect (p= 0.01) (with movement time fastest in the moderate to heavy domains). There was a significant main effect for complexity in both reaction (p<0.001) and movement (p= 0.002) time. Conclusion: The results of this study showed that simple and choice reaction times were affected differently by acute, short-duration exercise of differing intensities. The movement time data differ from previous research and show a quadratic effect rather than a linear one. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)536-541
Number of pages6
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognition
  • Complex
  • Quadratic effect


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