Several studies have claimed that the positive association between childhood fitness and cognitive control is attributable to differences in the child's cognitive control strategy, which can involve either proactive or reactive control. The present study tested this hypothesis by manipulating the probability of trial types during a modified flanker task. Preadolescent children performed mostly congruent and mostly incongruent conditions of the flanker task, with post-error task performance and error negativity/error-related negativity (Ne/ERN) being assessed. Results indicated that greater aerobic fitness was related to greater post-error accuracy and larger Ne/ERN amplitudes in the mostly congruent condition. These findings suggest that higher-fit children might be able to transiently upregulate cognitive control by recruiting reactive control in the mostly congruent condition. Further, greater fitness was related to greater modulation of Ne/ERN amplitude between conditions, suggesting that higher-fit children engaged inmore proactive control in the mostly incongruent condition. This study supports the hypothesis that greater childhood fitness is associated with a more flexible shift between reactive and proactivemodes of cognitive control to adapt to varying task demands.
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