Predicting affective responses to exercise using resting EEG frontal asymmetry: Does intensity matter?

Eric E. Hall, Panteleimon Ekkekakis, Steven J. Petruzzello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Affective responses to exercise may be important for improving adherence to regular programs of exercise. The present study sought to determine whether resting frontal EEG asymmetry, an individual difference measure of affective style, is predictive of affective responses to exercise performed at distinct intensities standardized relative to a metabolic landmark (i.e., the ventilatory threshold, VT). Resting EEG was collected from 30 participants and used to predict affective responses following treadmill running at three exercise intensities: below-VT, at-VT, and above-VT. Affect was assessed [via Activation-Deactivation Adjective Check List, yielding measures of Energetic Arousal (EA) and Tense Arousal (TA)] before, immediately following exercise, after 5 min cool down, and 10 and 20 min post-cool down. Resting mid-frontal asymmetry (F4-F3) significantly predicted EA immediately following below-VT exercise; resting lateral frontal asymmetry (F8-F7) predicted EA at 20 min post-cool down. Resting mid-frontal asymmetry predicted in EA immediately following and following cool down in above-VT exercise. As a whole, frontal asymmetry was predictive of affective responses following exercise, namely greater relative left frontal activity predicting lower EA. This was opposite to the predictions of the valenced motivation model, but may provide some support for the motivation direction model. This is based on the fact that low EA could be indicative of approach motivation, especially at higher exercise intensities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-206
Number of pages6
JournalBiological Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Affect
  • EEG
  • Exercise
  • Frontal asymmetry
  • Ventilatory threshold

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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