Exercise intensity has been shown to be a factor influencing cognitive effects in people, and most studies have utilized acute bouts of moderate intense exercise to demonstrate this. PURPOSE: The purpose of this pilot study was to examine the effect of moderate-intensity exercise on the inhibition of cognitive interference. METHODS: A pretest-posttest design was used to assess changes in inhibition of cognitive interference after moderate-intensity exercise. Subjects were college age and randomly assigned to one of three groups: control (C, n = 3), treadmill (T, n=5), or bike (B, n=3). Age adjusted maximum predicted heart rate was determined for each subject and a moderate-intensity exercise load of 40-59% heart rate reserve (HRR) was calculated. For subjects randomized into the T or B group, the exercise protocol consisted of a 3-minute warm up, followed by a 10-minute bout of exercise at the prescribed intensity, and ending with a 1-minute cool down. Those in the C group sat quietly for the same time period. The T and B group data were combined for this pilot study (T+B, n=8). Prior to, and following the exercise session, the Stroop Color and Word Test (Stroop) was administered. The Stroop test measures the ability to inhibit cognitive interference in the presence of two conflicting stimuli. The Stroop test has three components: namely word (W), color (Co), and word+color (W+C). In all three conditions, the subjects have 45 seconds to complete the task. In the W condition subjects read as many words as possible, in the Co condition subjects name as many colors as possible, and in the W+C condition the subjects name the color of the ink and ignore the word. RESULTS: In the C group: Wpre M= 95.0, SD= 10.0 and Wpost M = 103.0, SD = 16.1, t(2)=-1.2, p = .35, Copre M = 82.7, SD = 10.4, Copost M = 84.7, SD = 17.1, t(2) = -0.49, p = .67, W+Cpre M = 51.67, SD = 8, W+Cpost M=56, SD = 3.46, t(2)=-1.46, p = .28. In the T+B group: Wpre M = 106.0, SD = 21.1, Wpost M = 112.7, SD = 26.3, t(7) = -2.6, p = .035, Copre M = 79.4, SD = 12.9, Copost M = 86.3, SD = 12.2, t(7) = -3.4, p = .011, W+Cpre M = 52.0, Sd = 13.6, W+Cpost M = 56.5, SD = 15.7, t(7) = -2.0, p = .087. CONCLUSION: At p=.10, the results of the study indicate that moderate intensity exercise significantly affects inhibition of cognitive interference. This suggests that moderate intensity exercise may improve one’s ability to tune out irrelevant stimuli; however, more data are needed to confirm this.



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