Previous research has demonstrated that human maximal voluntary force is generally limited by neural inhibition. Producing a shout during maximal exertion effort enhances the force levels of maximal voluntary contraction. However, the mechanisms underlying this enhancement effect on force production remain unclear. We investigated the influence of producing a shout on the pupil-linked neuromodulatory system state by examining pupil size. We also examined its effects on the motor system state by examining motor evoked potentials in response to transcranial magnetic stimulation applied over the contralateral primary motor cortex, and by evaluating handgrip maximal voluntary force. Analysis revealed that producing a shout significantly increased handgrip maximal voluntary force, followed by an increase in pupil size and a reduction of the cortical silent period. Our results indicate that producing a shout increased handgrip maximal voluntary force through the enhancement of motor cortical excitability, possibly via the enhancement of noradrenergic system activity. This study provides evidence that the muscular force-enhancing effect of shouting during maximal force exertion is related to both the motor system state and the pupil-linked neuromodulatory system state.
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