Exergaming enhances children's efficiency to resolve visuospatial interference
Best, John R.
MetadataShow full item record
The current study examined as important aspect of experience—physical activity—that may contribute to children’s executive function. The design attempted to tease apart two important aspects of children’s exercise by examining the separate and combined effects of acute physical activity and cognitive engagement on an aspect of children’s executive functioning. In a 2 X 2 within-subjects experimental design, children (N = 33, aged 6-10) completed activities that varied systematically in both physical activity (physically active video games versus sedentary video activities) and cognitive engagement (challenging and interactive video games versus repetitive video activities). Cognitive functioning, including executive function, was assessed after each activity by a modified flanker task. Whereas cognitive engagement had no effect on any aspect of task performance, physical activity (i.e., exergaming) enhanced children’s speed to resolve interference from conflicting visuospatial stimuli. The results extend past research by showing more precisely how physical activity influences executive function while demonstrating that interactive video gaming can be an effective experimental tool.