Effects of tiredness on visuo-spatial attention processes in élite karate athletes and non-athletes

C. Del Percio, Claudio Babiloni, F. Infarinato, N. Marzano, M. Iacoboni, R. Lizio, P. Aschieri, E. Cè, S. Rampichini, G. Fanò, A. Veicsteinas, F. Eusebi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

"Attentional" adaptations are fundamental effects for sport performance. We tested the hypothesis that tiredness and muscular fatigue poorly affect visuo-spatial attentional processes in élite karate athletes. To this aim, 14 élite karate athletes and 11 non-athletes were involved in an isometric contraction exercise protocol up to muscular fatigue. Blood lactate and attention measurements were taken. Posner's test probed "endogenous" (i.e. internally planned allocation of spatial attention) and "reflexive" (i.e. brisk variation of endogenous spatial attention due to unexpected external stimuli) attention. Lactate and attentional measurements were performed before (Block 1, B1) and after the fatiguing exercise (B2) and at the end of a recovery period (B3). Compared to the non-athletes, the athletes showed a better performance in the fatigue protocol, confirmed by the higher absolute lactate values in B2. The correct responses in the "valid trials" probing "endogenous" attention were 92.4% (B1), 93.9% (B2), and 95.8% (B3) in the non-athletes, and 98.5%, 96.4%, 95.5% in the élite karate athletes. The correct responses in the "invalid trials" probing "reflexive" attention were 95.4%, 89.7%, 93.2% in the non-athletes, and 96.4%, 97.3%, 98.5% in the élite karate athletes. The percentage of correct responses in the "invalid" trials significantly decreased from B1 to B2 in the non-athletes but not in the élite karate athletes. In conclusion, tiredness and muscular fatigue do not affect "reflexive" attentional processes of élite karate athletes, which is crucial to contrast attacks coming from an unexpected spatial region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalArchives Italiennes de Biologie
Volume147
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009

Keywords

  • Endogenous attention
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Posner's test
  • Reflexive attention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Cell Biology
  • Physiology

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