The present study empirically examined the effects of four fatiguing task domains on executive function through participants’ reaction time, accuracy, and brain activity in prefrontal cortex (PFC). Forty college-age participants were collected (16 males and 24 females), of which eleven were examined using a functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) imaging system. The present study used a 4×2 mixed factorial design consisting of fatiguing task (arm contractions task, vigilance task, distance-manipulated Fitts’ task, size-manipulated Fitts’ task) as a between-participant variable and n-back testing period (pre-test versus post-test 3-back task) as a within-participant variable. Results indicated significant increases in 3-back performance after the fatiguing tasks, and significant increases in 3-back compensatory brain activity in dorsomedial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dmPFC and dlPFC) after the fatiguing tasks. Furthermore, results showed an interaction between 3-back target type and fatiguing task on standardized changes in reaction time, and an interaction between fatiguing task and testing period on brain activity in dmPFC. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed. Findings from this study may be used to help draw the boundaries on different domains of fatigue and their effects on the brain and body.
McConnell, Daniel S.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Psychology, Human Factors
Mouloua, Salim A., "Draining your Brain: The Effects of Four Fatiguing Task Domains on Executive Function and Prefrontal Cortex" (2019). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 653.