A1 Journal article (refereed)
Physical activity and aerobic fitness show different associations with brain processes underlying anticipatory selective visuospatial attention in adolescents (2021)

Hernández, D., Heinilä, E., Muotka, J., Ruotsalainen, I., Lapinkero, H.-M., Syväoja, H., Tammelin, T. H., & Parviainen, T. (2021). Physical activity and aerobic fitness show different associations with brain processes underlying anticipatory selective visuospatial attention in adolescents. Brain Research, 1761, Article 147392. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brainres.2021.147392

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Publication details

All authors or editorsHernández, Doris; Heinilä, Erkka; Muotka, Joona; Ruotsalainen, Ilona; Lapinkero, Hanna-Maija; Syväoja, Heidi; Tammelin, Tuija H.; Parviainen, Tiina

Journal or seriesBrain Research



Publication year2021


Article number147392

PublisherElsevier BV

Publication countryNetherlands

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessPartially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/74524


Current knowledge about the underlying brain processes of exercise-related benefits on executive functions and the specific contributions of physical activity and aerobic fitness during adolescence is inconclusive. We explored whether and how physical activity and aerobic fitness are associated with the oscillatory dynamics underlying anticipatory spatial attention. We studied whether the link between physical exercise level and cognitive control in adolescents is mediated by task-related oscillatory activity. Magnetoencephalographic alpha oscillations during a modified modified Posner’s cueing paradigm were measured in 59 adolescents (37 females and 22 males, 12 to 17 years). Accelerometer-measured physical activity and aerobic fitness (20-m shuttle run test) were used to divide the sample into higher- and lower-performing groups. The interhemispheric alpha asymmetry during selective attention was larger in the high than in the low physical activity group, but there was no difference between the high and low aerobic fitness groups. Exploratory mediation analysis suggested that anticipatory interhemispheric asymmetry mediates the association between physical activity status and drift rate in the selective attention task. Higher physical activity was related to increased cue-induced asymmetry, which in turn was associated with less efficient processing of information. Behaviorally, more physically active males showed stronger dependence on the cue, while more fit females showed more efficient processing of information. Our findings suggest that physical activity may be associated with a neural marker of anticipatory attention in adolescents. These findings might help to explain the varying results regarding the association of physical activity and aerobic fitness with attention and inhibition in adolescents.

Keywordsphysical activityphysical fitnessphysical trainingaerobic trainingeffects (results)cognitive skillsbrainbrain researchyoung people

Free keywordsphysical activity; aerobic fitness; adolescence; anticipatory alpha oscillations; selective attention; magnetoencephalography

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Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2021

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 20:06