Monday, August 27, 2012

Exergaming immediately enhances children's executive function.

The current study examined an important aspect of experience—physical activity—that may contribute to children's executive function. The design attempted to tease apart 2 important aspects of children's exercise by examining the separate and combined effects of acute physical activity and cognitive engagement on an aspect of children's executive functioning. In a 2 × 2 within-subject experimental design, children ( N = 33, 6 to 10 years old) completed activities that varied systematically in both physical activity (physically active video games versus sedentary video activities) and cognitive engagement (challenging and interactive video games versus repetitive video activities). Cognitive functioning, including executive function, was assessed after each activity by a modified flanker task (Rueda et al., 2004). Whereas cognitive engagement had no effect on any aspect of task performance, physical activity (i.e., exergaming) enhanced children's speed to resolve interference from conflicting visuospatial stimuli. Age comparisons indicated improvements with age in the accuracy of resolving interference and in overall response time. The results extend past research by showing more precisely how physical activity influences executive function and how this effect differs from the improvements that occur with development. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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