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Title:Aerobic fitness enhances relational memory in preadolescent children
Author(s):Monti, James
Advisor(s):Cohen, Neal J.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):relational memory
Aerobic Exercise
Abstract:It is widely accepted that aerobic exercise enhances hippocampal plasticity in non-human animal models. Often, this plasticity co-occurs with gains in hippocampal-dependent memory. Cross-sectional work investigating this relationship in preadolescent children has found behavioral differences in higher versus lower aerobically fit participants for tasks measuring relational memory, which is known to be critically tied to hippocampal structure and function. The present study tested whether similar differences would arise in a clinical intervention setting where a group of preadolescent children were randomly assigned to a nine-month after school aerobic exercise intervention versus a wait-list control group. Specifically, 53 children (mean Age = 9.45 years) were randomized to an afterschool physical activity intervention which met each school day, versus to a wait-list control group who performed their normal afterschool activities. Results indicated that children in the intervention increased their aerobic fitness, whereas no change in fitness was noted for the control group. Performance measures included eye-movements as a measure of memory, based on recent work linking eye-movement indices of relational memory to the hippocampus. Compared to the control group, those who entered the aerobic exercise program displayed eye-movement patterns indicative of superior memory for face-scene relations, with no differences observed in memory for individual faces. These results (1) support the view that the hippocampus is critical for memory for relations amongst items, (2) indicate the positive influence of increased aerobic fitness on hippocampal-dependent memory, and (3) emphasize the utility of using eye-tracking as a method to study memory.
Issue Date:2012-02-06
Genre:Dissertation / Thesis
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 James Michael Monti
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-02-06
Date Deposited:2011-12

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