Acute Exercise and Emotion Recognition in Young Adolescents

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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While there is evidence that acute bouts of aerobic and coordinative exercise positively affect attention and executive functions, no study has focused on the impact of acute exercise on facial-emotion processing. A total of 106 adolescents (mean age 13.0 years) were randomly assigned to a group performing either an aerobic exercise session (AER), an aerobic exercise session with coordinative demands (AER+C), or stretching. Before and after the 35-min experimental session, participants completed computerized facial-emotion labeling and emotion-matching tasks. Facial-emotion labeling, but not emotion matching, increased over time, but more so in AER and AER+C conditions. When aerobic exercise is combined with coordinative demands, greater benefits seem to be elicited for some aspects of facial-emotion recognition. Results suggest a new direction for the influence of exercising on dimensions of psychological functioning, namely on emotion processing and social cognition.

Brand and Holsboer-Trachsler are with the Center for Affective, Stress and Sleep Disorders (ZASS), University of Basel, Psychiatric Clinics (UPK), Basel, Switzerland. Brand, Pühse, Gerber, Colledge, and Ludyga are with the Dept. of Sport, Exercise and Health, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland. Brand is also with the Substance Abuse Prevention Research Center and the Sleep Disorders Research Center, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences (KUMS), Kermanshah, Iran.

Brand (serge.brand@upkbs.ch) is corresponding author.
Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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