The effect of mental fatigue on students’ academic performance

autor: ocean708 | 2021-11-04, 19:33 |

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Mental fatigue (MF) can be defined as a decrease in cognitive resources developing over time on sustained cognitive demands, independently of sleepiness. MF can be observed in the context of various attentional and executive cognitive functions with, amongst others, developing difficulties to suppress irrelevant information during selective attention, increased perseverations and time needed to plan, weakened cognitive control and decreased high-level information processing, or even declining physical performance.
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MF is also a significant contributing factor in loss of productivity, poor academic performance, increased risks of accidents and reduced quality of life in normal and clinical populations. Although fatigue as a global phenomenon has been investigated for more than a century now, the impact of MF at personal and economic levels continues representing an alarming figure in modern societies.
Mental fatigue refers to the feeling that people may experience after or during prolonged periods of cognitive activity. These feelings are very common in everyday modern life and generally involve tiredness or even exhaustion, an aversion to continue with the present activity, and a decrease in the level of commitment to the task at hand. In addition, Mental fatigue has been associated with impaired cognitive and behavioural performance. Over the past decades, work has changed to a large extent from demanding physical effort, to demanding mental effort. This has resulted in a substantial increase in complaints related to mental fatigue: in the Netherlands, half of the women in the working population complain about being fatigued, while a third of the men report such complaints. Fifteen years ago, only 38% of the women and 24% of the men reported such complaints. Mental fatigue has been shown to result in various deteri, orations in cognitive functioning. Fatigued subjects had difficulties in focusing their attention, planning, and adaptively changing strategies in the face of negative outcomes. Our own work showed that fatigued subjects had difficulties in adequately preparing their responses and had difficulties in sustaining attention and ignoring irrelevant information. In addition, fatigued subjects corrected their mistakes less often and post error performance adjustment was impaired. Common sense would dictate that Mental fatigue is the direct result of working for a prolonged period of time: the longer one works on a demanding task, the more fatigue one will experience. This, however, has been shown not to be the case. Fatigue may be experienced after working for a relatively short period of time, while working long hours does not always lead to fatigue. Indeed, working long hours has been shown not to lead to fatigue at all when the rewards of working (in terms of payment, but also appreciation by peers and co-workers) are perceived as high.
Academic performance is an issue that deeply concerns students, parents, teachers and authorities not only in our country, but also in many other Latin American countries and continents. The complexity of the academic performance starts from its conceptualization. Sometimes it is known as school readiness, academic achievement and school performance, but generally the difference in concepts is only explained by semantics as they are used as synonyms. Conventionally, it has been agreed that academic performance should be used in university populations and school performance in regular and alternative basic education populations. We will point out just a few because there is a diversity of definitions. Several authors agree that academic performance is the result of learning, prompted by the teaching activity by the teacher and produced by the student. Academic performance is “the product given by the students and it is usually expressed through school grades”. Academic performance as a measure of the indicative and responsive abilities that express, in an estimated way, what a person has learned as a result of a process of education or training. Academic performance involves meeting goals, achievements and objectives set in the program or course that a student attends. These are expressed through grades which are the result of an assessment that involves passing or not certain tests, subjects or courses. Academic performance also can be seen as the level of knowledge shown in an area or subject compared to the norm, and it is generally measured using the grade point average.
The purpose of the school or academic performance is to achieve an educational goal, learning. In this regard there are several components of the complex unit called performance. They are learning processes promoted by the school that involve the transformation of a given state, into a new state, and they are achieved with the integrity in a different unit with cognitive and structural elements. Performance varies according to circumstances, organic and environmental conditions that determine skills and experiences. The academic performance involves factors such as the intellectual level, personality, motivation, skills, interests, study habits, self-esteem or the teacher-student relationship. When a gap between the academic performance and the student’s expected performance occurs, it refers to a diverging performance. An unsatisfactory academic performance is the one that is below the expected performance. Sometimes it can be related to teaching methods
There has been substantial research on the effects of mental fatigue on academic performance, in operational settings and at work. Similarly, it is well established that acute fatigue can be associated with a negative mood and that chronic fatigue can lead to mental and physical health problems. In contrast to this, there has been little research on fatigue and the academic performance and wellbeing of students. Mental fatigue was also associated with poorer academic performance. Again, this effect of mental fatigue was independent of established predictors such as stressors and conscientiousness. The effects of fatigue on academic attainment were not due to differences in workload, academic stress or perceived efficiency. This suggests that students are not aware of the potential impact of fatigue and that further education about this topic is required. Mental fatigue causes irritability and bad temper in students. Students who are Mental fatigue ed easily get annoyed with the least thing that another person. Mental fatigue in its own way kills the tolerance of student making them vulnerable temper issues. Student tries to be calm but because they are worried and disturbed they lose that control easily. Mental fatigue can have a negative effect on the information processing system. People with anxiety have difficulty storing and retrieving information. Some students are very difficult to formally or informally assess because of anxiety. The adverse impacts of Mental fatigue on students ignoring the fact that lower level of Mental fatigue positively affects students as it gears sensitivity and consciousness of a student towards studies which attract attention to academic work thus enabling improved academic performance, In addition, it is a fact that many students are bound to serious reading and concentration on other academic activities because of the Mental fatigue derived from the fear of failure which the researchers never considered.
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