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Multitasking Under Physical Effort Essay

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The current theory of cognition and task performance is that there is one pool of cognitive resource that all cognitive tasks must draw from. Furthermore, this cognitive pool does not have an infinite supply of mental energy and when one operation is running, there is less resource for concurrent tasks. This can become problematic when ones job is to do multiple tasks at the same time. Related research maintains that physical exertion can drain the cognitive resource as well. It would be beneficial to know if physical exertion does in fact pool from the same resource as mental energy energy. Moreover, it might be the case that physical tasks do not pool from the same resource, yet still have an effect on cognition.
Literature Review
Cognitive researchers have investigated physical exertion, physical effort, and their relationships to cognitive abilities and performance. Because of the utility and applicability to military applications, the Department of Defense has funded much of the research. Moreover, military researchers on military bases have carried out many experiments, often with military members as participants.
According to research done by Tenenbaum, Lidor, Lavyan, Morrow, Tonnel, and Gershgoren (2005), a social-cognitive component exists in perseverance on physical tasks. According to the authors, there are variables that can explain the variance of perseverance, between subjects on a physical task. Through three experiments, the authors determined that the best predictors of perseverance on physical tasks are “perceived competence, confidence, and readiness to invest effort” (Tenenbaum et al, 2005, p. 139). Other important variables to perseverance included actual physical health, self-perceived health, and phys...


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...L. L., & Lieberman, H. R. (2007). The effects of movement and physical exertion on soldier vigilance. Aviation, Apace, and Environmental Medicine, 78(5), B51-B57.
Malfait, N., & Ostry, D. J. (2004). Is interlimb transfer of force-field adaptation a cognitive response to the sudden introduction of load? Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 24, 8084–8089.
Nunnally, J.C. & Bernstein, I.H. (1994). Psychometric Theory (3rd Ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill 264-265.
Richter, P. Richter, P. G., & Schmidt, C. (1983). Structure of activity and mental strain: cognitive and psychophysiological aspects. The German Journal of Psychology, 7(3), 245-252.
Tenenbaum, G., Lidor, R., Lavyan, N., Morrow, K., Tonnel, S., & Gershgoren, A. (2005). Dispositional and task- specific social-cognitive determinants of physical effort perseverance. The Journal of Psychology, 139(2), 139-157.


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