AbstractDespite the negative influence of mental fatigue (MF) on performance—induced MF results in decreased performance in cardiovascular tasks (Stewart et al., 2009; Wright et al., 2007) and strength tasks (Graham et al., 2014)—and its ubiquity in a variety of domains, MF research is often limited to physical tasks that require minimal sensorimotor integration. Perceptual-motor concepts fundamental to sensorimotor integration such as calibration/recalibration (i.e., scaling/re-scaling action capabilities to perceptual information: van Andel et al., 2017; Withagen & Michaels, 2002, 2007) may be used to conceptualize the mechanism linking MF to decremental performance. As such, this study's purpose was to examine if MF influences sensorimotor recalibration during a perceptual-motor task. Forty novice dart throwers were randomly assigned to a MF or control condition and performed 30 Bullseye aimed dart throws before and after (60 total) their 10-minute experimental condition. Following experimental manipulation, the MF group experienced significantly more MF (0-minute M = 17.25 VAS(cm); 10-minute M = 67.4 VAS) and demonstrated significantly worse error recalibration rates (F (1, 37) = 6.93, p = .012, ?p2 = .16; M = 4.3 mm improvement in Euclidean distance)—when controlling for pre-test accuracy—than the control group (0-minute M = 17.7 VAS; 10-minute M = 27.4 VAS; M = 18.17 mm improvement in Euclidean distance). These findings suggest that MF may cause a perturbance to perception-action coupling resulting in prolonged sensorimotor recalibration. Future research should expand on these findings to determine if and how MF impairs sensorimotor calibration/recalibration, particularly during perceptual-motor skill acquisition.
Acknowledgments: NSERC Discovery Grant; Ontario Graduate Scholarship