, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 419-434

Performance, cardiovascular, and health behavior effects of an inhibitory strength training intervention

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Abstract

Female undergraduates were assigned to one of three groups, two involving regulatory training and one not. Training participants performed for 2 weeks tasks that required strong behavioral restraint (Strong Training) or weak behavioral restraint (Weak Training). Later, they took part in (1) a laboratory session in which they performed tasks with inhibitory components, and (2) a follow-up week in which they provided health behavior reports and used designated dental supplies. No Training participants took part only in the session and follow-up week. As expected, laboratory performance was improved for Strong- relative to No Training participants, with performance for Weak Training participants falling in between. Also as expected, Strong Training participants used more floss in the follow-up week than did the No Training participants, with floss for Weak Training participants falling between. Contrary to expectation, Strong Training participants used less toothpaste and reported having brushed less than the No Training participants. In addition, Strong Training participants evinced exaggerated—rather than diminished—cardiovascular responses during the laboratory tasks. The performance and floss use data support the suggestion that inhibitory system strength can be increased through use. The brushing and cardiovascular findings may be interpretable in inhibitory strength terms.