Age and physical activity influences on action monitoring during task switching

Jason R. Themanson, Charles H. Hillman, John J. Curtin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Behavioral and neuroelectric indices of action monitoring were compared for 53 high and low physically active older (60-71 years) and younger (18-21 years) adults during a task-switching paradigm in which they performed a task repeatedly or switched between two different tasks. The error-related negativity (ERN) of a response-locked event-related brain potential (ERP) and behavioral measures of response speed and accuracy were measured during the heterogeneous condition (switching randomly between two tasks) of the switch task. Results indicated that older adults exhibited a greater relative slowing in RT during heterogeneous blocks and smaller ERN amplitude compared to younger adults. Additionally, physical activity differences revealed a relatively smaller global switch cost for physically active older adults and decreased ERN amplitude, as well as increased post-error response slowing for older and younger physically active participants, compared to their less physically active counterparts. The findings suggest that both age and physical activity participation influence behavioral and neuroelectric indices of action monitoring and provide further evidence for the beneficial effects of physical activity on executive control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1335-1345
Number of pages11
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Aging
  • Cognitive function
  • Error-related negativity (ERN)
  • Event-related brain potentials (ERPs)
  • Executive control
  • Exercise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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