Effect of differing exercise intensities on the response time of gymnasts and non-gymnasts in 3d cube mental rotation task

Salma Khalfallah, Bessem Mkaouer*, Samiha Amara, Hamdi Habacha, Nizar Souissi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The purpose of the present study was to examine the effect of different levels of exercise intensity on mental rotation performance in gymnasts vs. non-gymnasts'. Forty-one participants (18 females; mean age 20.94±0.89 years, height 1.65±0.03 m, body mass 58.94±5.67 kg, and 23 males; mean age 21.26±0.99 years, height 1.70±0.05 m, body mass 66.87±4.52 kg) divided into two groups (i.e., gymnasts and non-gymnast) voluntarily took part in the present study. The two groups performed a 3D cube mental rotation task at rest, and then performed the same task preceded by short bouts of intense exercise at 60%, 80%, 100% and 120% of their maximum aerobic speed (MAS). The analyses of response times showed that gymnasts performed the mental rotation task faster following bouts of intense exercise than in rest condition, especially in 60% and 80% of MAS, whereas non-gymnasts increased their response times after moderate exercises (i.e., 60 et 80 % of MAS) and stabilized their performance (i.e., equally at the rest) after intense exercises. This finding highlights the specific physical expertise as a variable that can affect the influence of exercise on cognitive processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-309
Number of pages9
JournalScience of Gymnastics Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Cognitive processing
  • Exercise intensity
  • Gymnastics expertise
  • Mental rotation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Education

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