Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder resulting in destruction of pancreatic beta (β) cells which leads to lifelong dependency on exogenous insulin via injections or pumps. Type 1 diabetes can lead to physiological complications such as kidney disease, neuropathy, and retinopathy, but there are also cognitive consequences not discussed as frequently. The current study investigated the difference in psychomotor efficiency, inhibition, and task switching in type 1 diabetics compared to non-diabetics. Participants completed three cognitive tests including simple reaction time, task switching, and the Stroop tasks. Type 1 diabetic participants completed a questionnaire regarding specific variables associated with the disease. Results indicate that type 1 diabetics had significantly slower reaction time in the simple reaction time, suggesting they have poorer psychomotor efficiency than non-diabetics. Results indicate no significant difference in the size of the Stroop effect or switch cost between groups, however type 1 diabetics were significantly slower when their mean reaction time for the tests was analyzed. Although these two tests were not different, overall type 1 diabetics had poorer psychomotor efficiency than non-diabetics in all three tasks. Correlations indicate that longer disease duration was associated with a slower reaction time, a larger Stroop effect, and a smaller switch cost. Correlations indicate that an earlier age of onset was associated with better performance on the Stroop Test and task switching test. There was no relationship between age of onset and reaction time. Based on this current study and previous studies, physicians should inform their patients about cognitive function and aim for stricter management of blood glucose levels to prevent cognitive issues.


Gillund, Gary




Cognitive Neuroscience | Endocrine System Diseases | Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism


Type 1 diabetes, cognition, inhibition, shifting, psychomotor efficiency, diabetes

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2018 Kate Witt