The Acute Effect of Exergaming Compared to Traditional Aerobic Activity on Cognitive Processing Speed in College Students
Dr. Maureen Dunn
Previous research has shown that physical activity may improve cognitive function in college students. Other research has indicated that certain video games may also improve cognitive function. This study examined the combination of those variables. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effect of video game exercise compared to aerobic cycling exercise on mental processing speed. Forty-five college students enrolled in ‘Health Dynamics’ at Hope College were split in to three groups. There was a cycling group, a video game dancing group, and a resting (control) group. Participants in the treatment groups completed 20 minutes of supervised activity (stationary cycling or playing “Just Dance 3”) at 60%-70% of their estimated maximum heart rate, while control group participants remained seated in a quiet room for 20 minutes. Following the 20 minutes of the respective activity, each participant was administered a modified Stroop Test and a survey that assessed the engagement level during the activity. This study is ongoing, and results are not yet available. However, if Stroop scores are higher following one activity compared to the others, this may suggest that that particular activity might have a greater effect on cognitive processing speed. Therefore, it may be beneficial for college students to participate in that particular activity prior to completing a cognitive task.
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