The effect of acute physical activity on children’s memory for language

Abstract

Research on the relationship between acute physical activity and cognition in children has often found beneficial effects of exercise on a variety of cognitive abilities. One domain that remains underexplored, however, is the relationship between exercise and long-term memory in children, and in particular whether the general-domain effects observed in previous studies could translate to a school-based learning activity, such as vocabulary learning. To address this issue, this study focused on the possible effects that a bout of moderate, aerobic physical activity could have on the immediate and delayed recall of newly acquired word forms and form- meaning connections of children in a school setting. In line with previous research, the results show a positive effect of exercise, but only for word form recall. This study expands our understanding of the differential effects of exercise on memory, while raising questions regarding the possible moderating influence of gender and memory consolidation.


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