Spontaneous eyeblinks and state anxiety following exercise

Patrick J. O'connor, Steven J. Petruzzello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purposes of this investigation were: (1) assess the impact of acute exercise on spontaneous eyeblink rate, and (2) determine the relationship between eyeblinks and state anxiety before and following exercise. Sixteen men performed a graded treadmill run for the purpose of assessing maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max). On three separate days the subjects completed a 15 min run at 75% of VO2max, a 30 min run at 75% of VO2max, and a control condition which involved 15 min of imagined running. State anxiety and eyeblink rate were assessed immediately before as well as 5, 10, 20, and 30 min following each condition. Multivariate ANOVA (3 Conditions × 5 Trials) with repeated measures revealed a significant main effect for trials (Wilks' Lambda = 80; F = 2.5; df = 4,42; p = 05) for eyeblink rate. One-way ANOVA post hoc tests indicated that eyeblinks increased significantly following the imagined exercise condition only. A significant main effect for trials (Wilks' Lambda = 47; F = 12.1; df = 4,42; p < 001) was also found for state anxiety, and following all three conditions significant reductions in anxiety were observed when compared to precondition values. Significant correlations were not observed between eyeblink rate and state anxiety following any of the three conditions; however, a moderate relationship was found immediately prior to each condition (range: r = 30-43). It is concluded that eyeblink rates are not influenced by treadmill running at 75% of VO2max for either 15 or 30 min, and that postexercise anxiety reductions are unrelated to eyeblink rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-63
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • Blinks
  • Dopamine
  • Imagery
  • Running

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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