Professor Samuele Marcora received his Bachelor in Physical Education from the State University of Milan (Italy). He then studied for an MSc in Human Performance at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (USA), and for a PhD in Clinical Exercise Physiology at the University of Wales-Bangor (UK). After a successful academic career at Bangor University, Professor Marcora began his post as Director of Research at the University of Kent at the end of 2010. His role is to stimulate, coordinate, monitor and assess all research activity within the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences.
In 2006, Professor Marcora changed his research direction and decided to integrate exercise physiology with motivation psychology and cognitive neuroscience. This psychobiological approach has generated several innovative studies including the effects of mental fatigue on endurance performance and brain training for endurance athletes (Brain Endurance Training). Professor Marcora had been research consultant for MAPEI Sport Service in Italy where he contributed to highly cited research on football and mountain biking physiology.
In his spare time, Professor Marcora enjoys riding his two motorbikes. In 2013, he completed a gruelling 3-month ride from London to Beijing through Central Asia and Tibet to investigate fatigue in motorbike riders. If you are interested in Professor Marcora's research on fatigue in motorbike riders, you can listen to his recent interview on Adventure Rider Radio here.
My current research combines physiology and psychology in a truly interdisciplinary approach to investigate fatigue and endurance performance.
The ultimate goal of my research programme is to find new ways to improve performance of endurance athletes, and reduce physical and mental fatigue in a variety of populations. These populations include soldiers, motorbike riders, and patients affected by diseases such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and chronic kidney disease.
My previous research includes research into the mechanisms, assessment and treatment of muscle wasting, and applied sports science research (e.g., football training and mountain biking).
Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository
Anstiss, P. et al. (2018). Development and Initial Validation of the Endurance Sport Self-efficacy Scale (ESSES). Psychology of Sport and Exercise [Online] 38:176-183. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2018.06.015.Self-efficacy is likely to be an important psychological construct for endurance sport performance. Research into the role of self-efficacy, however, is limited as there is currently no validated measure of endurance sport self-efficacy. Consequently, the purpose of the present research was to develop and validate the Endurance Sport Self-Efficacy Scale (ESSES). In Study 1, an initial item pool was developed following a review of the literature. These items were then examined for content validity by an expert panel. In Study 2, the resultant 18 items were subjected to exploratory factor analyses. These analyses provided support for a unidimensional scale comprised of 11 items. Study 2 also provided evidence for the ESSES's convergent validity. In Study 3, using confirmatory factor analyses, further support was found for the 11-item unidimensional structure. Study 3 also provided evidence for the ESSES's convergent and concurrent validity. The present findings provide initial evidence that the ESSES is a valid and reliable measure of self-efficacy beliefs in endurance sports.
Van Cutsem, J. et al. (2018). A caffeine-maltodextrin mouth rinse counters mental fatigue. Psychopharmacology [Online] 235:947-958. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-017-4809-0.Introduction Mental fatigue is a psychobiological state caused by prolonged periods of demanding cognitive activity that has negative implications on many aspects in daily life. Caffeine and carbohydrate ingestion have been shown to be able to reduce these negative effects of mental fatigue. Intake of these substances might however be less desirable in some situations (e.g., restricted caloric intake, Ramadan). Rinsing caffeine or glucose within the mouth has already been shown to improve exercise performance. Therefore, we sought to evaluate the effect of frequent caffeine-maltodextrin (CAF-MALT) mouth rinsing on mental fatigue induced by a prolonged cognitive task. Methods Ten males (age 23 ± 2 years, physical activity 7.3 ± 4.3 h/week, low CAF users) performed two trials. Participants first completed a Flanker task (3 min), then performed a 90-min mentally fatiguing task (Stroop task), followed by another Flanker task. Before the start and after each 12.5% of the Stroop task (eight blocks), subjects received a CAF-MALT mouth rinse (MR: 0.3 g/25 ml CAF: 1.6g/25 ml MALT) or placebo (PLAC: 25 ml artificial saliva). Results Self-reported mental fatigue was lower in MR (p = 0.017) compared to PLAC. Normalized accuracy (accuracy first block = 100%) was higher in the last block of the Stroop in MR (p = 0.032) compared to PLAC. P2 amplitude in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) decreased over time only in PLAC (p = 0.017). Conclusion Frequent mouth rinsing during a prolonged and demanding cognitive task reduces mental fatigue compared to mouth rinsing with artificial saliva.
Salam, H., Marcora, S. and Hopker, J. (2017). The Effect of Mental Fatigue on Critical Power during cycling exercise. European Journal of Applied Physiology [Online] 118:85-92. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-017-3747-1.Purpose: Time-to-exhaustion (TTE) tests used in the determination of critical power (CP) and curvature constant (W) of the power-duration relationship are strongly influenced by the perception of effort (PE). This study aimed to investigate whether manipulation of the PE alters the CP and W. Methods: Eleven trained cyclists completed a series of TTE tests to establish CP and W under two conditions, following a mentally fatiguing (MF), or a control (CON) task. Both cognitive tasks lasted 30 min followed by a TTE test. Ratings of PE and heart rate (HR) were measured during each TTE. Blood lactate was taken pre and post each TTE test. Ratings of perceived mental and physical fatigue were taken pre- and post-cognitive task, and following each TTE test. Results: Perceived MF significantly increased as a result of the MF task compared to baseline and the CON task (P<0.05), without a change in perceived physical fatigue (P>0.05). PE was significantly higher during TTE in the MF condition (P<0.05). Pre-post blood lactate accumulation was significantly lower after each TTE in MF condition (P<0.05). HR was not significant different between conditions (P>0.05). Neither cognitive task induced any change in CP (MF 253±51 vs. CON 247±58W; P>0.05), although W was significantly reduced in the MF condition (MF 2.3±4.5 vs. CON 2.9±6.3kJ; P<0.01). Conclusion: MF has no effect of CP, but reduces the W in trained cyclists. Lower lactate accumulation during TTE tests following MF, suggests that cyclists were not be able to fully expend W even though they exercised to volitional exhaustion.