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Anneke G. van der Niet, Joanne Smith, Jaap Oosterlaan, Erik J.A. Scherder, Esther Hartman and Chris Visscher

The objective of this study was to analyze the effects of a physical activity program including both aerobic exercise and cognitively engaging physical activities on children’s physical fitness and executive functions. Children from 3 primary schools (aged 8–12 years) were recruited. A quasi-experimental design was used. Children in the intervention group (n = 53; 19 boys, 34 girls) participated in a 22-week physical activity program for 30 min during lunch recess, twice a week. Children in the control group (n = 52; 32 boys, 20 girls) followed their normal lunch routine. Aerobic fitness, speed and agility, and muscle strength were assessed using the Eurofit test battery. Executive functions were assessed using tasks measuring inhibition (Stroop test), working memory (Visual Memory Span test, Digit Span test), cognitive flexibility (Trailmaking test), and planning (Tower of London). Children in the intervention group showed significantly greater improvement than children in the control group on the Stroop test and Digit Span test, reflecting enhanced inhibition and verbal working memory skills, respectively. No differences were found on any of the physical fitness variables. A physical activity program including aerobic exercise and cognitively engaging physical activities can enhance aspects of executive functioning in primary school children.

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Phillip D. Tomporowski and Michel Audiffren

Thirty-one young (mean age = 20.8 years) and 30 older (mean age = 71.5 years) men and women categorized as physically active (n = 30) or inactive (n = 31) performed an executive processing task while standing, treadmill walking at a preferred pace, and treadmill walking at a faster pace. Dual-task interference was predicted to negatively impact older adults’ cognitive flexibility as measured by an auditory switch task more than younger adults; further, participants’ level of physical activity was predicted to mitigate the relation. For older adults, treadmill walking was accompanied by significantly more rapid response times and reductions in local- and mixed-switch costs. A speed-accuracy tradeoff was observed in which response errors increased linearly as walking speed increased, suggesting that locomotion under dual-task conditions degrades the quality of older adults’ cognitive flexibility. Participants’ level of physical activity did not influence cognitive test performance.

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J.C. Norling, Jim Sibthorp and Edward Ruddell

Background:

The purpose of this study was to develop the Perceived Restorativeness for Activities Scale (PRAS) based on the conceptual framework of attention-restoration theory (ART). ART suggests that 4 latent constructs (being away, fascination, extent, and compatibility) must be present to enable a switch from voluntary (effortful, directed) attention to involuntary (effortless) attention and facilitate restored attention.

Method:

Data were collected from 238 participants in a variety of university exercise classes. Exploratory factor analysis reduced items to a parsimonious 12-item scale. Confirmatory factor analysis tested the best fit between a 1-dimensional versus a 4-factor solution.

Results:

The Cronbach alpha was .925. The significant analysis (P < .001) suggested that the model with 4 distinct subscales has the best data fit (goodness-of-fit index = .94, standardized root-mean-square residual = .041, incremental-fit index = .98, expected-cross-validation index = .66, comparative-fit index = .98). Composite reliability and variance extracted were calculated for each construct represented by ART: being away, .81, .59; fascination, .79, .63; extent, .89, .78; and compatibility, .68, .42.

Conclusion:

The 12-item, 4-factor solution of the PRAS can help researchers understand the within-individual preconceptions toward the activity experience that can influence cognitive restoration.

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Kevin M. Antshel, Laura E. VanderDrift and Jeffrey S. Pauline

The NCAA Growth, Opportunities, Aspirations and Learning of Students in College data were used to explore the relationship between self-reported high levels of difficulties thinking or concentrating and grade point average (GPA) in college student-athletes. We specifically investigated the mediators of the relationship between self-reported high levels of difficulties thinking or concentrating and GPA. Results revealed there was a significant indirect effect between self-reporting the highest level of difficulties thinking or concentrating and service use through GPA, moderated by identity, full model: F(4, 14738) = 184.28, p < .001; R 2 = .22. The athletic/academic identity variable acted as a moderator of the mediating effect of GPA on the relationship between self-reported high levels of difficulties thinking or concentrating and the use of academic resources on campus. If a student-athlete who is self-reporting high levels of difficulties thinking or concentrating identifies more as a student, GPA is likely to prompt academic service use. However, if the student-athlete identifies more as an athlete, GPA is less likely to lead to use of campus academic support resources.

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Judy L. Van Raalte, Allen E. Cornelius, Britton W. Brewer and Stephen J. Hatten

Although a number of studies have demonstrated the effects of self-talk on sport performance, the research literature on the antecedents of self-talk in competitive sport is sparse. The purpose of this study was to examine both the antecedents and the consequences of self-talk during competitive tennis performance. Eighteen adult tournament players were observed during United States Tennis Association–sanctioned matches. Players’ audible self-talk, observable gestures, and tennis scores were recorded using the Self-Talk and Gestures Rating Scale (Van Raalte, Brewer, Rivera, & Petitpas, 1994b). Results indicated that all players used observable self-talk and gestures during their matches. Furthermore, for all players, match circumstances (e.g., point outcome, serving status) predicted the use of negative self-talk. Positive and instructional self-talk were predicted by match circumstances for some players. The results suggest that match circumstances contribute to the generation of self-talk and provide useful information for researchers interested in better understanding the antecedents of self-talk.

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Chiao-Ling Hung, Yu-Kai Chang, Yuan-Shuo Chan, Chia-Hao Shih, Chung-Ju Huang and Tsung-Min Hung

The purpose of the current study was to examine the relationship between motor ability and response inhibition using behavioral and electrophysiological indices in children with ADHD. A total of 32 participants were recruited and underwent a motor ability assessment by administering the Basic Motor Ability Test-Revised (BMAT) as well as the Go/No-Go task and event-related potential (ERP) measurements at the same time. The results indicated that the BMAT scores were positively associated with the behavioral and ERP measures. Specifically, the BMAT average score was associated with a faster reaction time and higher accuracy, whereas higher BMAT subset scores predicted a shorter P3 latency in the Go condition. Although the association between the BMAT average score and the No-Go accuracy was limited, higher BMAT average and subset scores predicted a shorter N2 and P3 latency and a larger P3 amplitude in the No-Go condition. These findings suggest that motor abilities may play roles that benefit the cognitive performance of ADHD children.

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Robert F. Potter and Justin Robert Keene

An experiment investigates the impact of fan identification on the cognitive and emotional processing of sports-related news media. Two coaches were featured; one conceptualized as negatively valenced the other positively. Participants completed a fan identification scale before stimuli presentation. While watching the press conferences, heart rate, skin conductance, and corrugator muscle activity were recorded as indices of cognitive resource allocation, emotional arousal, and aversive motivation activation respectively. Self-report measures were collected after each stimulus. Results show that highly identified fans process sports-related news content differently than moderate fans, allocating more cognitive resources and exhibiting greater aversive reactions to the negatively valenced coach. Comparisons between the self-report and psychophysiology data suggest that the latter may be less susceptible to social desirability response bias when emotional reaction to sports messages are concerned.

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Anna E. Mathews, Sarah B. Laditka, James N. Laditka, Sara Wilcox, Sara J. Corwin, Rui Liu, Daniela B. Friedman, Rebecca Hunter, Winston Tseng and Rebecca G. Logsdon

This study identified perceived physical activity (PA) enablers and barriers among a racially/ethnically and geographically diverse group of older adults. Data were from 42 focus groups conducted with African Americans, American Indians, Latinos, Chinese, Vietnamese, and non-Hispanic Whites (hereafter Whites). Constant-comparison methods were used to analyze the data. Common barriers were health problems, fear of falling, and inconvenience. Common enablers were positive outcome expectations, social support, and PA program access. American Indians mentioned the built environment and lack of knowledge about PA as barriers and health benefits as an enabler more than participants in other groups. Whites and American Indians emphasized the importance of PA programs specifically designed for older adults. Findings suggest several ways to promote PA among older people, including developing exercise programs designed for older adults and health messages promoting existing places and programs older adults can use to engage in PA.

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Jennifer J. Heisz and Ana Kovacevic

Age-related changes in the brain can compromise cognitive function. However, in some cases, the brain is able to functionally reorganize to compensate for some of this loss. The present paper reviews the benefits of exercise on executive functions in older adults and discusses a potential mechanism through which exercise may change the way the brain processes information for better cognitive outcomes. Specifically, older adults who are more physically active demonstrate a shift toward local neural processing that is associated with better executive functions. We discuss the use of neural complexity as a sensitive measure of the neural network plasticity that is enhanced through exercise. We conclude by highlighting the future work needed to improve exercise prescriptions that help older adults maintain their cognitive and physical functions for longer into their lifespan.

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Jennifer L. Etnier, Jeffrey D. Labban, William B. Karper, Laurie Wideman, Aaron T. Piepmeier, Chia-Hao Shih, Michael Castellano, Lauren M. Williams, Se-Yun Park, Vincent C. Henrich, William N. Dudley and Kelli L. Rulison

Physical activity is predictive of better cognitive performance and lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The apolipoprotein E gene (APOE) is a susceptibility gene for AD with the e4 allele being associated with a greater risk of AD. Cross-sectional and prospective research shows that physical activity is predictive of better cognitive performance for those at greater genetic risk for AD. However, the moderating role of APOE on the effects of a physical activity intervention on cognitive performance has not been examined. The purpose of this manuscript is to justify the need for such research and to describe the design, methods, and recruitment tactics used in the conductance of a study designed to provide insight as to the extent to which cognitive benefits resulting from an 8-month physical activity program are differentiated by APOE e4 status. The effectiveness of the recruitment strategies and the feasibility of recruiting APOE e4 carriers are discussed.