B-37 Free Communication/Poster - Physical Activity and Cognition Wednesday, May 28, 2014, 1:00 PM - 6:00 PM Room: WB1
For more than a decade, neuroelectric studies using event-related brain potentials (EPRs), particularly the P3 component and error-related negativity, have indicated that physical activity and fitness are associated with cognitive function across a person’s lifespan. A majority of these studies have employed cognitive tasks requiring variable amounts of cognitive control; this research indicates that association of physical activity with cognitive function is disproportionately larger for tasks requiring extensive amounts of cognitive control such as inhibition, working memory, action monitoring, and cognitive flexibility.
PURPOSE: This study aimed to provide new insights into the association between physical activity level and primitive cognitive processing during a face recognition task in young adults, a topic that has received little attention.
METHODS: We compared physically active and inactive college students’ task performance and several occipito-temporal ERPs reflecting face processing stages from perceptual encoding (N170) to recognition (N250 and face-N400) during a face recognition task. The face recognition task required participants to respond to famous faces and not respond to unfamiliar faces.
RESULTS: Analyses revealed no significant group differences on task performance measures. Neuroelectric data indicated that different time courses of face recognition processes between groups. Active individuals exhibited larger N250 amplitude, reflecting an early stage of face recognition, for famous relative to unfamiliar faces, whereas inactive individuals did not exhibit such a difference.
CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that greater physical activity level is positively associated with the early stage of occipito-temporal face recognition. This study provides the first evidence that physical activity level is associated not only with higher-order cognitive functions operating in the prefrontal, anterior cingulate, and/or hippocampal cortices, it is also associated with earlier, more primitive, cognitive processes that operate in the occipito-temporal cortex even during young adulthood.