Williamson, M. L., Ryan, E. J., Fickes, E. J., Kim, C. H., Gunstad, J., Kaminori, G. H., & Glickman, E. L. (2011). Caffeine, exercise, and selective attention. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 43(5). Supplement abstract 1301.

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This study determined the effects of caffeine (administered in gum) on selective attention at rest and following exhaustive exercise in male cyclists (N = 8). Ss participated in five separate laboratory sessions, with a one-week washout period between sessions. During the first visit, Ss underwent a graded exercise test on a cycle ergometer to determine maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) and were allotted time to practice the Strop Color Word Test. For each of the next four visits, three pieces of chewing gum (caffeine or placebo) were administered at three time points; 120 minutes pre-exercise, 60 minutes pre-exercise, and 5 minutes pre-exercise. In three of the four experimental trials, caffeine gum was administered at one of the three time points and placebo gum at the other two time-points. During the control trial, placebo gum was administered at all time points. Following baseline measurements, time allotted for gum administration, and a standard warm-up, participants cycled at 75% VO2max for 15 minutes then completed a 7 kj/kg time-trial. The Strop Color Word Test was administered at baseline, 100 minutes prior to cycling, 40 minutes prior to cycling, and immediately after cycling. Interference scores were calculated and utilized as an indicator of selective attention.

Interference scores for the Strop Color Word Test did not differ between trials and no trial by time interaction was observed. Interference scores for the Strop Color Word Test were higher immediately after cycling when compared to all other time points.

Implication. Caffeine does not enhance selective attention at rest, but does increase it immediately upon completion of an extended exercise task.

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