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Jacqueline M. Del Giorno, Eric E. Hall, Kevin C. O’Leary, Walter R. Bixby and Paul C. Miller

The purpose of this study was to test the transient hypofrontality theory (Dietrich, 2003) by examining the influence of exercise intensity on executive control processes during and following submaximal exercise. Thirty participants (13 female) exercised for 30 min at ventilatory threshold (VT) or at 75% of VT. The Contingent Continuous Performance Task (CPT) and Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) were used as measures of executive control. They were administered before, during, immediately following, and 20 min after exercise. An increase in false alarms and unique errors (p ≤ .05) occurred during both conditions. False alarms for the CPT and total and perseverative errors for the WCST remained elevated immediately following exercise at VT, but not at exercise below VT (p ≤ .01). The decreased executive control function during exercise can be explained by the transient hypofrontality theory. Following VT, executive control performance remained poor possibly owing to an additional amount of time the brain needs to return to homeostasis following intense exercise.

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Chun-Chih Wang, Chien-Heng Chu, I-Hua Chu, Kuei-Hui Chan and Yu-Kai Chang

This study was designed to examine the modulation of executive functions during acute exercise and to determine whether exercise intensity moderates this relationship. Eighty college-aged adults were recruited and randomly assigned into one of the four following groups: control, 30%, 50%, and 80% heart rate reserve. The Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) was administered during each intervention. The results indicated that the majority of the WCST performances were impaired in the high exercise intensity group relative to those of the other three groups, whereas similar performance rates were maintained in the low- and moderate-intensity groups. These findings suggest that transient hypofrontality occurs during high-intensity exercise, but not during low- and moderate-intensity exercises. Future research aimed at employing the dual-mode theory, and applying the reticular-activating hypofrontality model is recommended to further the current knowledge.

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Panteleimon Ekkekakis

Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) presents an appealing option for investigating hemodynamic changes in the cerebral cortex during exercise. This review examines the physical basis of NIRS and the types of available instruments. Emphasis is placed on the physiological interpretation of NIRS signals. Theories from affective neuroscience and exercise psychobiology, including Davidson's prefrontal asymmetry hypothesis, Dietrich's transient hypofrontality hypothesis, and Ekkekakis's dual-mode model, are reviewed, highlighting the potential for designing NIRS-based tests in the context of exercise. Findings from 28 studies involving acute bouts of exercise are summarized. These studies suggest that the oxygenation of the prefrontal cortex increases during mild-to-moderate exercise and decreases during strenuous exercise, possibly proximally to the respiratory compensation threshold. Future studies designed to test hypotheses informed by psychological theories should help elucidate the significance of these changes for such important concepts as cognition, affect, exertion, and central fatigue.

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Keishi Soga, Keita Kamijo and Hiroaki Masaki

role in encoding source information ( Murray & Ranganath, 2007 ). Further, according to the transient hypofrontality hypothesis ( Dietrich, 2003 ; Dietrich & Audiffren, 2011 ), during exercise, neural activity temporarily decreases in brain areas such as the prefrontal cortex that are not directly