Effects of regular aerobic exercise on visual perceptual learning

TitleEffects of regular aerobic exercise on visual perceptual learning
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsConnell, C., B. Thompson, H. Green, R. Sullivan, and N. Gant
JournalVision research
Keywordsadolescent, adult, Aerobic exercise, Article, Association Learning, associative learning, clinical effectiveness, controlled study, exercise, female, human, human experiment, Humans, learning, machine learning, male, measurement accuracy, middle aged, motion direction discrimination, Motion perception, movement perception, normal human, physiology, Plasticity, priority journal, self report, stimulation, task performance, Transfer (Psychology), transfer of learning, Vision, Visual Perception, visual perception test, Visual perceptual learning, young adult

This study investigated the influence of five days of moderate intensity aerobic exercise on the acquisition and consolidation of visual perceptual learning using a motion direction discrimination (MDD) task. The timing of exercise relative to learning was manipulated by administering exercise either before or after perceptual training. Within a matched-subjects design, twenty-seven healthy participants (n = 9 per group) completed five consecutive days of perceptual training on a MDD task under one of three interventions: no exercise, exercise before the MDD task, or exercise after the MDD task. MDD task accuracy improved in all groups over the five-day period, but there was a trend for impaired learning when exercise was performed before visual perceptual training. MDD task accuracy (mean ± SD) increased in exercise before by 4.5 ± 6.5%; exercise after by 11.8 ± 6.4%; and no exercise by 11.3 ± 7.2%. All intervention groups displayed similar MDD threshold reductions for the trained and untrained motion axes after training. These findings suggest that moderate daily exercise does not enhance the rate of visual perceptual learning for an MDD task or the transfer of learning to an untrained motion axis. Furthermore, exercise performed immediately prior to a visual perceptual learning task may impair learning. Further research with larger groups is required in order to better understand these effects. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd