E-36 Free Communication/Poster - Neuroscience Friday, May 30, 2014, 7:30 AM - 12:30 PM Room:WB1
A growing body of literature suggests that a single bout of physical activity may have transient benefits to attention.
PURPOSE: Utilize event-related brain potentials (ERPs) to investigate the effect of a single bout of physical activity on the underlying component processes of attention.
METHODS: A sample of 21 college-aged young adults (12 female) were assessed immediately prior to and following a single 20 minute bout of aerobic physical activity or seated rest during two separate counterbalanced sessions using a within-participants design. ERP components related to attentional orienting (P3a) and the allocation of attentional resources (P3b) were assessed in response to a perceptually challenging three-stimulus oddball task.
RESULTS: Neuroelectric indices of attentional orienting and the allocation of attentional resources were maintained from pre-test following a single 20 minute bout of moderately intense aerobic physical activity. In contrast, reductions in both attentional processes were observed following a similar duration of seated rest for the P3a to the distractor stimulus and the P3b to the oddball target stimulus.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings replicate previous research observing greater allocation of attention after a 20-minute bout of aerobic physical activity of moderate intensity relative to seated rest. However, contrary to prior interpretations of exercise-induced enhancements in attention; the results of this investigation suggest that single bouts of physical activity appear to sustain these attentional processes, whereas prolonged sitting results in deficits. Also novel to the present investigation is the finding that single bouts of physical activity appear to influence multiple aspects of attention including the maintenance of focal attention resulting from attentional orienting.