A functional MRI investigation of the association between childhood aerobic fitness and neurocognitive control

Laura Chaddock, Kirk I. Erickson, Ruchika Shaurya Prakash, Michelle W. Voss, Matt VanPatter, Matthew B. Pontifex, Charles H Hillman, Arthur F Kramer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine brain activity of higher fit and lower fit children during early and late task blocks of a cognitive control flanker paradigm. For congruent trials, all children showed increased recruitment of frontal and parietal regions during the early block when the task was unfamiliar, followed by a decrease in activity in the later block. No within-group changes in congruent accuracy were reported across task blocks, despite a decline in performance across all participants, likely due to fatigue. During incongruent trials, only higher fit children maintained accuracy across blocks, coupled with increased prefrontal and parietal recruitment in the early task block and reduced activity in the later block. Lower fit children showed a decline in incongruent accuracy across blocks, and no changes in activation. We suggest that higher fit children are better at activating and adapting neural processes involved in cognitive control to meet and maintain task goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-268
Number of pages9
JournalBiological Psychology
Volume89
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

    Fingerprint

Keywords

  • Brain
  • Children
  • Cognition
  • Exercise
  • FMRI
  • Flanker
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

Cite this

Chaddock, L., Erickson, K. I., Prakash, R. S., Voss, M. W., VanPatter, M., Pontifex, M. B., Hillman, C. H., & Kramer, A. F. (2012). A functional MRI investigation of the association between childhood aerobic fitness and neurocognitive control. Biological Psychology, 89(1), 260-268. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2011.10.017