The effect of physical activity on executive function: A brief commentary on definitions, measurement issues, and the current state of the literature

Jennifer L. Etnier*, Yu Kai Chang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

186 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The purpose of the present commentary is to introduce relevant issues with respect to the measurement of executive function in physical activity studies. Suggested definitions of executive function are introduced, and executive function tasks that are commonly used in the neuropsychological literature are presented and briefly described. The extant literature on physical activity and cognition is discussed, and issues relative to the limitations of this body of literature are raised. In summary, research on the effect of physical activity on executive function is still in its infancy. We encourage researchers in this field to provide a clear definition of executive function, to carefully consider the relevance of published effect sizes to their own research questions, and to consider either providing a logical rationale for their selection of particular executive function measures or to use multiple measures of executive function when exploring relationships between physical activity and executive function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-483
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Volume31
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Aug
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cognition
  • Exercise
  • Neuropsychological assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology

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