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ERIC Number: EJ870232
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jun
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 28
ISSN: ISSN-0270-1367
Physical Activity as a Moderator of the Relationship between Aging and Inductive Reasoning
Perrot, Alexandra; Gagnon, Christine; Bertsch, Jean
Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, v80 n2 p393-397 Jun 2009
A relatively universal observation in aging studies is that cognitive functions inevitably decline across the adult life span. More specifically, executive functions decline substantially with age, as do the frontal and prefrontal brain regions that support them. Indeed, these regions are subject to important neurological modifications with advancing age. However, growing evidence indicates that factors such as education, lifestyle, and physical activity may be implicated in reducing age-related cognitive declines. The benefits of physical activity have been examined in many cross sectional studies and confirmed by studies involving physical training interventions. In both types of studies, physical activity is related to increased cognitive performance, particularly in executive functioning. These results suggest that processes that are susceptible to age-related changes appear to be sensitive to physical activity, meaning physical activity could act as a moderator of age-related deficits on executive functioning by diminishing the impact of aging. The influences of physical activity seem to be more beneficial for older adults than for younger adults. However, one of the major limitations of these studies is that the tasks predominantly focus on attention control and reaction time, which typically require a speed component. Researchers have neglected inductive reasoning, a superior executive function important for everyday functioning, and sensitive to age-related deficits. Inductive reasoning is defined as the ability to discover the characteristics underlying a specific problem or to apply a previously learned rule to the problem. Few studies have investigated the relationship between physical activity and this superior executive function. In this study, the authors attempt to test this relationship by investigating the association between an active lifestyle and inductive reasoning in young and older adults. Based on previous findings that executive functions are disproportionately sensitive to aging and to physical activity, and referring to the study by Clarkson-Smith and Hartley (1989), the authors examine the hypothesis that physical activity would be linked to better performance on inductive reasoning only for older participants. (Contains 1 table and 1 figure.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A