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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name



Science Education

First Advisor

Lai Qin





Mohammed Aljahni

December 2020

Advisor: Dr. Qin Lai

Major: Kinesiology - Exercise and Sport Science

Degree: Doctor of Philosophy

Previous studies have shown that external focus of attention decreased reaction time by increasing central processing speed, compared to internal focus of attention. The research suggests that there is a direct link between attentional focus and information processing. It is also well-documented that warm-up or moderate exercise increases the central or cognitive processing speed even though no consistent finding on the latency of the muscle activation (peripheral processing). However, there is little research on the potential role of warm-up on central or peripheral processing linked with attentional focus. The first experiment aimed to investigate the relationship between attentional focus and information processing using a between-group research design. Specifically, it examined how internal and external attentional focus affected fractionated reaction time (pre-motor time and motor time) on the upper extremity. Results revealed that external focus of attention significantly decreased reaction time and pre-motor time (central processing) but no effect on motor time (peripheral processing).

The second experiment aimed to investigate the impacts of attentional focus and warm-up on information processing indexed by fractionated reaction time. This experiment utilized a within-subjects design to test the effects of attentional focus on reaction time, premotor time and motor time on the lower extremity. A 15-min warm-up protocol was used to determine whether warm-up exercise benefited information processing compared to the controlled. Results demonstrated external focus of attention produced significantly faster reaction time, premotor time, and motor time than internal focus. However, the warm-up exercise appeared to have a mixed effect on fractionated reaction time compared to the no warm-up. Specifically, the warm-up decreased motor time, but increased premotor time. In summary, the present research indicated that attentional focus effect was independent of research designs and muscle effectors. External focus of attention could facilitate both the central processing and peripheral processing relative to internal focus. An acute warm-up protocol facilitated the muscle activation, but might cause disruption or inhibition of the central processing. It should be further studied in the future.

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