Title of Project

Walkabout Cognition

Researcher Information

Andrew Bowen

Project Type


Start Date

6-4-2018 12:00 AM

End Date

6-4-2018 12:00 AM

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Apr 6th, 12:00 AM Apr 6th, 12:00 AM

Walkabout Cognition

Previous research has shown the benefits of exercise. The neurophysiological effects of exercise include angiogenesis, neurogenesis, and synaptogenesis in the brain. Exercise can also reduce anxiety and improve cognitive functioning. The aim of the current study was to determine the effects of exercisingindoors or outdoors on one’s anxiety and cognitive processing. We hypothesized that exercising leads to greater inhibitory control, especially when done outside. We also hypothesized that personality dimensions would impact measures of impulsivity. Participants either walked or sat (exercise condition) for twenty minutes. A stop-signal task used to measure inhibitory control allowed for the measurement of both stopping and going behavior. Here we measured the time it took to both begin and stop a response. We also administered the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory to measure anxiety levels and the Newcastle Personality Assessor to assess dimensions of personality. Two-way ANOVAs revealed no main effects of exercise or location on going or stopping reaction times. There were main effects of both exercise and location on anxiety scores. Participants were less anxious after not exercising, as well as less anxious after being outside. We also found a correlation between reaction time and the number hours of sleep. Participants with more sleep responded faster on stop-signal trials. In sum, we found no effect of exercise, location, or personality on inhibitory control. Subsequent studies may consider using a more powerful within-subjects design or a more intense exercise to determine what, if any, the effect of exercise has on inhibitory control.