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By Megan Piepmeyer, Health Sciences; Michael Cymbal, Health Sciences
Advisor: Susan Kotowski
Presentation ID: AM_B47
Abstract: Emotion and motivation are two variables that are shown to be main driving factors of how behavior is carried out. Multiple studies have proven that service animals can have a positive effect on physiological and behavioral outcomes in individuals. After having interactions with a service animal the majority of subjects involved reported higher energy levels, positive moods and a greater overall feeling of being calmed and engaged. With the number of emotional support animals increasing, exploring the benefits that may be provided by them could potentially allow a greater understanding of the validity of the services provided. The aim of this project was to determine what effect the presence of a service animal had on physical, cognitive, and dual physical and cognitive performance. The population used in this study were volunteers who are students at the University of Cincinnati, above the age of eighteen years old. The study involved six different scenarios that tested a subject's cognitive, physical and dual capability with measurements of the individual's accuracy and time. For the physical testing the subjects performed a plyometric circuit, for the cognitive testing the subjects performed mathematical based challenges and for the dual testing the subjects were asked to ambulate while completing a mathematical based challenge. By running these trials we hoped to uncover that emotional support animals could have a positive effect on physical and cognitive performance of the subject.