Acute effects of aerobic exercise on response variability and neuroelectric indices during a serial n-back task

Shih Chun Kao, Chun Hao Wang, Charles H. Hillman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


To determine the neuroelectric underpinnings of exercise-induced changes in working memory, this study investigated the acute effects ofaerobic exercise (AE) on the P3 component of an event-related potential and brain oscillations during a serial n-back task. Task-related electroencephalography was collected in 23 young adults following 20 min of rest and AE on separate, counterbalanced days. The results revealed reductions in standard deviation of response time and coefficient of variation of response time following AE compared to rest. Neuroelectric analyses showed increased P3 amplitude following AE compared to rest. Task-related frontal alpha desynchronization was stronger in the 2-back compared with the 1-back task following AE, while no such modulation was observed following rest. These findings suggest AE may temporarily enhance working memory, as reflected by decreases in response variability, which are accompanied by neuroelectric indices reflecting greater upregulation of attentional processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105508
JournalBrain and Cognition
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Feb


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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

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