The association of physical activity to occipito-temporal processing during face recognition

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Abstract

Objectives

This study examined the association between physical activity level and primitive cognitive processing during a face recognition task in young adults, a topic that has received little attention.

Design

Cross-sectional.

Methods

The face recognition task required participants to respond to famous faces but not respond to unfamiliar faces. Task performance and several occipito-temporal event-related brain potentials reflecting the various stages of face processing, from perceptual encoding (N170) to recognition (N250 and face-N400), were assessed during the face recognition task.

Results

Although analyses revealed no significant group differences in behavioral performance measures, neuroelectric data showed different time courses of face recognition processes between groups. Active individuals exhibited larger N250 amplitude, reflecting an early stage of facial recognition, for famous relative to unfamiliar faces, whereas inactive individuals did not exhibit such a difference.

Conclusions

These findings are suggestive of a possible association between physical activity and relatively early, primitive cognitive processes.

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