Effects of Visual and Auditory Stimuli on Exercise Performance and Ratings of Exercise

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Kevin Cole and Dr. Maureen Dunn, Department of Kinesiology

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Auditory and visual stimuli are often used by individuals during exercise. Previous studies have found that such stimulation can increase exercise performance and enjoyment through distraction from feelings of fatigue and exertion. This study is being completed to determine the combined effects of auditory and visual stimuli, as compared to each alone or no stimulation, on various measurable outcomes of exercise. These measurable outcomes will include ratings of exercise enjoyment, internal (fatigue, exertion, etc.) or external (daydreaming, focused on surroundings) attentional attributions, peak and average heart rates, and distance cycled. Each participant will engage in moderate-intensity cycling on a stationary bike for four consecutive weeks, during which they will be exposed to four different conditions of stimulation: visual and auditory, visual alone, auditory alone, and no stimulation. The order of the conditions will be randomized for each participant, and the workload added to each bike will be tailored to each individual participant’s body weight and aerobic capacity. This will be measured by a V02 Max test prior to the beginning of the experiment. Auditory stimuli will be popular music and visual stimuli will be the accompanying music videos. It is hypothesized that in the visual/auditory combined stimulation condition that the distance cycled and peak heart rates will be higher, the exercise will be rated more favorably, and attentional attributions will be more externally focused than with visual, auditory, or no stimulation. If the results are significant, it would be recommended that individuals utilize visual and auditory stimuli during exercise to improve their exercise performance and enjoyment. This study is in progress, and results will be reported at the Hope College Celebration of Undergraduate Research.

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