Mental Effort and Physical Performance

2.3 based on 9 ratings

Updated on Feb 08, 2012

Grade Level: 9th - 12th; Type: Cognitive Science


Determine the effect of concentrated mental effort on physical performance levels.

The goals of this project are:

  1. To scientifically observe of the effect of brain activity on physical performance.
  2. To create an imaginative display.

Research Questions:

  • To what degree does mental exercise affect physical performance?
  • How can we test the validity of this claim?

It's widely accepted that physical exercise promotes mental clarity and alertness. But is the reverse also true? This project involves a simple, well-controlled scientific experiment to test and identify the effect of rigorous mental exercise on physical performance levels.


  • Computer with Internet access
  • Color printer
  • Digital camera
  • Typical office/hobby/hardware/craft supplies (paper, poster board, glue, etc.).
  • A Wii Fit sports video game.
  • Forty volunteers

Experimental Procedure

  1. Carefully study the related literature (see bibliography below).
  2. Address all of the terms and research questions mentioned here.
  3. Search and print out compelling images relevant to your topic.
  4. Take photos throughout the course of the experiment.
  5. Randomly divide the volunteers into two groups of equal size. Label them Group 1 and Group 2.
  6. Have all volunteers play a Wii sports game, and record each of their scores.
  7. Have the volunteers in Group 1 study the word list for 20 minutes, while the volunteers from group 2 wait separately for 20 minutes in a quiet room.
  8. Have Group 1 volunteers try to recall as many words as possible from the list.
  9. Have all volunteers play another round of the chosen Wii sports game.
  10. Carefully record all results.
  11. Analyze your data.
  12. Explain your findings in a detailed report.
  13. Include graphics, diagrams, and demonstrations in your science fair display.

Terms/Concepts: Concentration (focused thought); Mind-Body connection; Sports Psychology


Judee Shipman is a Bay Area Educational Consultant and professional writer of quality educational materials. Her recent writing credits include (a popular and entertaining website about states), and a book called The Portable Chess Coach (Cardoza, 2006), currently available in stores.

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