In The Brilliant Report: Studies On Executive Function And Exercise

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In this week’s issue of The Brilliant Report, I write about how aerobic exercise is one of the few ways science has identified to improve our “executive function”—the set of higher-order mental skills that allow us to plan and organize, make considered decisions, manage our time and focus our attention. Below are links to abstracts of the studies I cite in the article.

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a review from cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham
“Can Teachers Increase Students’ Self-Control?”
Daniel Willingham, American Educator, Summer 2011


interventions such as Tools of the Mind have shown disappointing results
“Tools of the Mind Shows Lackluster Results in Experimental Trials
Sarah Sparks, Education Week, March 9, 2012


brain training exercises have generally failed to show transfer
“Putting Brain Training To The Test”
Adrian M. Owen et al., Nature, June 10, 2010


a just-published review of the relevant research
“Benefits of Regular Aerobic Exercise for Executive Functioning in Healthy Populations”
Hayley Guiney and Liana Machado, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, February 2013


regular exercise and overall physical fitness have been linked to academic achievement
“Exercise and Children’s Intelligence, Cognition, and Academic Achievement”
Phillip D. Tomporowski et al., Educational Psychology Review, 2008


success on specific tasks like safely crossing a busy street while talking on a cell phone
“Role of Childhood Aerobic Fitness in Successful Street Crossing”
Laura Chaddock et al., Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, April 2012


post quicker reaction times, give more accurate responses, and are more effective at detecting errors
“Impact of Aerobic Exercise Training on Cognitive Functions and Affect Associated to the COMT Polymorphism in Young Adults”
Sanna Stroth et al., Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 2010


assigned older adults to three one-hour sessions of exercise a week for six months
“Aerobic Exercise Training Increases Brain Volume in Aging Humans”
Stanley J. Colcombe et al., The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, 2006


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One Response to “In The Brilliant Report: Studies On Executive Function And Exercise”

  1. Sometimes the solution is simple – just not easy – on a personal level. Thanks for sharing this interesting research.

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