Single bouts of exercise selectively sustain attentional processes

Matthew B. Pontifex*, Andrew C. Parks, David A. Henning, Keita Kamijo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined how single bouts of exercise may differentially modulate neuroelectric correlates of attentional orienting and processing. Using a within-participants design, ERPs and task performance were assessed in response to a perceptually challenging three-stimulus oddball task prior to and following a bout of exercise or seated rest during two separate, counterbalanced sessions. Findings revealed that, following a single bout of exercise, attentional processing was sustained relative to pretest whereas prolonged sitting resulted in attentional decrements. Focal attention resulting from attentional orienting, in contrast, does not appear to be sensitive to the influences of single bouts of physical activity. These findings suggest that acute exercise-induced changes in cognition do not originate from an overall modulation of attention but instead are specific to aspects of attentional processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)618-625
Number of pages8
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015 May 1


  • Acute exercise
  • Attentional orienting
  • P300
  • P3a
  • P3b
  • Stimulus discrimination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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