Effects of mental fatigue on the development of physical fatigue: a neuroergonomic approach. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: The present study used a neuroergonomic approach to examine the interaction of mental and physical fatigue by assessing prefrontal cortex activation during submaximal fatiguing handgrip exercises. BACKGROUND: Mental fatigue is known to influence muscle function and motor performance, but its contribution to the development of voluntary physical fatigue is not well understood. METHOD: A total of 12 participants performed separate physical (control) and physical and mental fatigue (concurrent) conditions at 30% of their maximal handgrip strength until exhaustion. Functional near infrared spectroscopy was employed to measure prefrontal cortex activation, whereas electromyography and joint steadiness were used simultaneously to quantify muscular effort. RESULTS: Compared to the control condition, blood oxygenation in the bilateral prefrontal cortex was significantly lower during submaximal fatiguing contractions associated with mental fatigue at exhaustion, despite comparable muscular responses. CONCLUSION: The findings suggest that interference in the prefrontal cortex may influence motor output during tasks that require both physical and cognitive processing. APPLICATION: A neuroergonomic approach involving simultaneous monitoring of brain and body functions can provide critical information on fatigue development that may be overlooked during traditional fatigue assessments.

published proceedings

  • Hum Factors

altmetric score

  • 57.406

author list (cited authors)

  • Mehta, R. K., & Parasuraman, R.

citation count

  • 85

complete list of authors

  • Mehta, Ranjana K||Parasuraman, Raja

publication date

  • June 2014