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Title:Physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness, memory, and self-efficacy in the aging brain
Author(s):Szabo, Amanda
Director of Research:McAuley, Edward
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):McAuley, Edward
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Hillman, Charles H.; Chodzko-Zajko, Wojtek; Kramer, Arthur F.; Cohen, Neal J.
Department / Program:Kinesiology & Community Health
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Physical activity
Abstract:Older adults are the fastest growing segment of our population (United Nations Populations Division, 2010). Memory is one of many important functions that declines with age and plays an influential role in health and wellbeing of older adults (Salthouse, 2003). Numerous studies have been conducted investigating the effect of self-efficacy on physical activity (e.g., McAuley, Elavsky, Jerome, Konopack, & Marquez, 2005; McAuley et al., 2006) and cognitive parameters (e.g., Serra, Dunlosky, & Hertzog, 2008) in healthy older adult populations. Self-efficacy refers to one’s beliefs about his or her ability to perform a specified task or participate in an activity (Bandura, 1977, 1997). However, the specific brain regions associated with self-efficacy and the implications such brain regions may have for memory task performance are unknown. In addition to self-efficacy, previous research has demonstrated that cardiorespiratory fitness (Colcombe, Kramer, McAuley, Erickson, & Scalf, 2004; Erickson et al., 2011; Kramer et al., 1999) and physical activity (Angevaren, Aufdemkampe, Verhaar, Aleman, & Vanhees, 2008; Flöel et al., 2010) also can increase or help maintain cognitive function and brain health in older adults. The purpose of this study was to determine which brain regions are associated with self-efficacy cognitions using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In addition, a goal was to determine the relationship among these brain regions, memory performance, physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness. Results showed, that the retrosplenial, anterior cingulate (ACC), dorsal medial prefrontal cortex (dMPFC), temporal parietal junction (TPJ), and the ventral medial prefrontal cortex (vMPFC) (van Overwalle, 2009; Buckner et al., 2008) brain regions were all active during the self-referential task. In addition, greater activity in the form of deactivation in the dMPFC was related better performance on the relational memory task. Results also showed that the two activity groups (high and low active) overall did not have any significant differences in brain activity, however, there was a trend towards individuals in the high activity group having more deactivation in the dMPFC than individuals in the low activity group. In addition, correlation findings showed that higher self-efficacy was related to better performance memory task, greater cardiorespiratory fitness, greater participation in physical activity, greater activation in the ACC and deactivation in dMPFC. Results also showed that deactivation in the dMPFC was associated with better memory task performance and greater participation in physical activity. Finally, findings showed that physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness, self-efficacy and brain activation on memory performance together did not influence performance on the memory task (proportion of correct responses and dprime). This research extends the social cognitive neuroscience literature by identifying regions of the brain associated with self-efficacy cognitions relative to memory performance using fMRI. In addition, this study also provides initial insight into the role of social cognitive brain regions and how they are related to physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness and how these variables influence cognitive health in older adults.
Issue Date:2012-09-18
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Amanda Nicole Szabo
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-09-18
Date Deposited:2012-08

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