The after-effects of physical exertion on cognitive performance : youth sailors and logical reasoning : this thesis is presented in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts at Massey University
Youth sailors completed four logical-reasoning test administrations to explore whether an extended-duration cognitive task might isolate a cognitive performance decrement after long-duration moderate-intensity physical exertion. The cognitive task, the 30-minute Grammatical Transformation Test (GTT), was developed from the three-minute Baddeley Logical Reasoning Test (Baddeley, 1968). Thirty-seven 16 to 20 year-old sailors completed the GTT before and after a day of on-the-water training, and a day of simulated racing ashore. Although a subjective measure indicated the sailors were more physically tired after a day of sailing than after either a day ashore, or prior to either activity, no significant test performance changes occurred due solely to the after-effects of the physical exertion. However, the number of questions correctly answered was higher on the second testing day than on the first, and higher in the afternoon administrations than in the mornings. Further, the number of correctly answered questions increased in each of the consecutive 10-minute test phases in the mornings but decreased in the afternoons. The accuracy of the responses in the first 10-minute phase of each test was lower than in the second and third phases. Also, the accuracy of responses to relatively simpler questions was lower than for complex questions. Finally there were interactions affecting the accuracy of responses between the question complexity and test time, complexity and phase, and complexity, day, time, and phase. The results are discussed in relation to a model of the relationship between fatigue and cognitive performance, and to the cognitively complex sport of sailboat racing.