Acute exercise facilitates the N450 inhibition marker and P3 attention marker during stroop test in young and older adults

Shu Shih Hsieh, Chung Ju Huang, Chien Ting Wu, Yu Kai Chang*, Tsung Min Hung

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


While considerable evidence supporting the positive influence of acute exercise on cognitive inhibition, little is known regarding the underlying cognitive processes. There is also little neuroelectric evidence regarding the effects on older adults of acute exercise-elicited cognitive benefits. Thus, our objective was to explore the possible neural markers underlying improved cognitive inhibition, with particular attention to the N450 and P3 components, following acute exercise. Another aim was to investigate whether cognitive gains seen in young adults are replicated in older adults. Twenty-four young males and 20 older males underwent either a single bout of aerobic exercise or video-watching in counterbalanced order. Afterwards, cognitive inhibition was assessed by the Stroop test. Results revealed that acute exercise resulted in shorter response time regardless of age or congruency. Regarding the neuroeletric data, acute exercise resulted in larger P3 amplitude and smaller N450 amplitude regardless of congruency or age. Further, following exercise, changes in response time interference were correlated with changes in incongruent N450 amplitude. Collectively, acute exercise-facilitated conflict monitoring and attention control, as signified by the N450 and P3 components, may be the underlying processes leading to better Stroop performance, with conflict monitoring having a stronger association with task performance. Further, cognitive gains resulting from acute exercise were found to the same extent in both young and older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Article number391
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Nov


  • Aerobic exercise
  • Cognitive inhibition
  • N450
  • P3
  • Stroop test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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