Neuroelectric and behavioral effects of acute exercise on task switching in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Chiao Ling Hung, Chung Ju Huang, Yu Jung Tsai, Yu Kai Chang, Tsung Min Hung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


The main purpose of this two-part study was to examine the effects of acute, moderate intensity exercise on task switching in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In Study 1, we compared the task switching performance of children with and without ADHD. Twenty children with ADHD and 20 matched controls performed the task switching paradigm, in which the behavioral indices and P3 component of event-related potentials elicited by task-switching were assessed simultaneously. The amplitude and latency of P3 reflected the amount of attention resource allocated to task-relevant stimulus in the environment and the efficiency of stimulus detection and evaluation, respectively. The task switching included two conditions; the pure condition required participants to perform the task on the same rule (e.g., AAAA or BBBB) whereas the mixed condition required participants to perform the task on two alternating rules (e.g., AABBAA...). The results indicated that children with ADHD had significantly longer RTs, less accuracy, and larger global switch cost for accuracy than controls. Additionally, ADHD participants showed smaller amplitudes and longer P3 latencies in global switch effects. In Study 2, we further examined the effects of an acute aerobic exercise session on task switching in children with ADHD. Thirty-four children with ADHD performed a task switching paradigm after 30 min of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise on a treadmill and after control sessions (watching videos while seated). The results revealed that following exercise, children with ADHD exhibited smaller global switch costs in RT compared with after control sessions. The P3 amplitude only increased following exercise in the mixed condition relative to the pure condition, whereas no effects were found in the control session. These findings suggest that single bouts of moderate intensity aerobic exercise may have positive effects on the working memory of children with ADHD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1589
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberOCT
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Oct 13



  • ERP
  • Executive function
  • Physical activity
  • Switch cost
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this