J Sport Exerc Psychol. 2015 Oct;37(5):559-64
The abrupt onset of a visual stimulus typically results in overt attentional capture, which can be quantified by saccadic eye movements. Here, we tested whether attentional capture following onset of task-irrelevant visual stimuli (new object) is reduced after a bout of intense physical exercise. A group of participants performed a visual search task in two different activity conditions: rest, without any prior effort, and effort, immediately after an acute bout of intense exercise. The results showed that participants exhibited (1) slower reaction time of the first saccade toward the target when a new object was simultaneously presented in the visual field, but only in the rest activity condition, and (2) more saccades to the new object in the rest activity condition than in the effort activity condition. We suggest that immediately after an acute bout of effort, participants improved their ability to inhibit irrelevant (distracting) stimuli.