Author(s): Tanaka M, Ishii A, Watanabe Y
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Abstract Mental fatigue can be defined as a psychobiological state caused by prolonged periods of demanding cognitive activity and manifests as a reduced efficiency in cognitive performance. Mental fatigue is one of the most significant causes of accidents in modern society. Therefore, understanding the neural mechanisms of mental fatigue is important. However, the neural mechanisms of mental fatigue are not fully understood. In this study, we investigated the neural activity that results from mental fatigue caused by a continuous attention load. We used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to evaluate the neural activities during the attention task. Ten healthy male volunteers participated in this study. They performed a continuous attention task lasting 10 min. Subjective ratings of mental fatigue, mental stress, boredom, and sleepiness were performed just after the task trial. MEG data were analyzed using narrow-band adaptive spatial filtering methods. An increase in the beta-frequency band (13-25 Hz) power in the right inferior and middle frontal gyri (Brodmann׳s areas 44 and 9 respectively) was caused by the mental fatigue. The increase in the beta-frequency band power in the right middle frontal gyrus was negatively associated with the self-reported level of mental stress and was positively associated with those of boredom and sleepiness. These results demonstrate that performing a continuous mental fatigue-inducing task causes changes in the activation of the prefrontal cortex, and manifests as an increased beta-frequency power in this brain area as well as sleepiness. Our results contribute to greater understanding of the neural mechanisms of mental fatigue. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Brain Res
and referenced in Journal of Psychology & Psychotherapy