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Evaluation of the transient hypofrontality theory in the context of exercise: A systematic review with meta-analysis

Jung, Myungjin, Ryu, Seungho, Kang, Minsoo, Javadi, Amir-Homayoun, Loprinzi, Paul D. (2021) Evaluation of the transient hypofrontality theory in the context of exercise: A systematic review with meta-analysis. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, . ISSN 1747-0218. (doi:10.1177/17470218211048807) (KAR id:94855)


Accumulating research suggests that, as a result of reduced neural activity in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), higher-order cognitive function may be compromised while engaging in high�44 intensity acute exercise, with this phenomenon referred to as the transient hypofrontality effect. However, findings in this field remain unclear and lack a thorough synthesis of the evidence. Therefore, the purpose of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the effects of in-task acute exercise on cognitive function, and further, to examine whether this effect is moderated by the specific type of cognition (i.e., PFC-dependent vs. non-PFC-dependent). Studies were identified by electronic databases in accordance with the PRISMA guidelines. In total, twenty-two studies met our inclusion criteria and intercept only meta-regression models with robust variance estimation were used to calculate the weighted average effect sizes across studies. Acute exercise at all intensities did not influence cognitive function (β = -0.16, 95% CI = [-0.58, 0.27], p = .45) when exercise occurred during the cognitive task, and no significant moderation effects emerged. However, there was evidence that cognitive task type (PFC-dependent vs. non-PFC-dependent) moderated the effect of high-intensity acute exercise on a concomitant cognitive performance (β= -0.81, 95% CI = [-1.60, -0.02], p = .04). Specifically, our findings suggest that PFC-dependent cognition is impaired while engaging in an acute bout of high-intensity exercise, providing support for the transient hypofrontality theory. We discuss these findings in the context of a cognitive-energetic perspective.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/17470218211048807
Uncontrolled keywords: Cognitive decline, intense physical activity, mental resources, prefrontal activation, 62 transient hypofrontality theory
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Amir-Homayoun Javadi
Date Deposited: 03 May 2022 10:22 UTC
Last Modified: 03 May 2022 10:22 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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Javadi, Amir-Homayoun.

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