Statistical Learning Is Not Affected by a Prior Bout of Physical Exercise

Cognitive Science 40 (4):1007-1018 (2016)

This study examined the effect of a prior bout of exercise on implicit cognition. Specifically, we examined whether a prior bout of moderate intensity exercise affected performance on a statistical learning task in healthy adults. A total of 42 participants were allocated to one of three conditions—a control group, a group that exercised for 15 min prior to the statistical learning task, and a group that exercised for 30 min prior to the statistical learning task. The participants in the exercise groups cycled at 60% of their respective V˙O2max. Each group demonstrated significant statistical learning, with similar levels of learning among the three groups. Contrary to previous research that has shown that a prior bout of exercise can affect performance on explicit cognitive tasks, the results of the current study suggest that the physiological stress induced by moderate-intensity exercise does not affect implicit cognition as measured by statistical learning.
Keywords Incidental learning  Implicit learning  Exercise  Statistical learning  Cognition  Physical activity
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DOI 10.1111/cogs.12256
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