Wrisberg, C. A., Franks, B. D., Birdwell, M. W., & High, D. M. (1988). Physiological and psychological responses to exercise with an induced attentional focus. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 66, 603-616.

Ss (M = 10; F = 10) performed exercise while attending to themselves (internal: watching a mirror image and listening to breathing) or an external event (watching and listening to a movie). A submaximal exercise bout followed by a run to exhaustion was performed under the two conditions of attentional focus.

Physiological and psychological responses to the two focuses were not always uniform for men and women. Men had higher heart rates and lower ratings of perceived exertion in the self-focused condition while women had lower rates and higher ratings of perceived exertion under the same condition. There was no difference in endurance between genders or focus condition.

This study was limited because it set the content of focusing, a condition which may have prevented a true test of the hypothesis under consideration.

Implication. Men and women were shown to react differently in physiological and psychological factors to exercise. It would be erroneous to assume exercise responses and evaluations will be the same between genders. Because of the restricted natures of the two forms of focus it is not possible to generalize anything about attentional focus.

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