Visual threat detection during moderate and high intensity exercise


The aim of the study was to assess performance on a visual threat-detection task during concurrently performed vigorous exercise on a cycle ergometer. Thirty (15 female) participants completed a baseline condition of seated rest and then moderate- and high-intensity exercise. Moderate- and high-intensity exercise conditions were completed on the 2nd day in a counterbalanced order. During each exercise condition, participants responded to 3  3 picture matrices (256 trials in each condition) that contained discrepant fear-relevant and discrepant fear-irrelevant pictures (Öhman, Flykt, & Esteves, 2001). Response accuracy was significantly greater, and reaction time was significantly faster, during moderateand high-intensity exercise compared with the rest condition (ps < .001). The discrepant fear relevant matrix type was detected significantly more accurately than a discrepant fear-irrelevant matrix (p < .001). The discrepant fear-relevant matrix was detected significantly faster than all other matrix types (p < .001). These results suggest that exercise at a moderate and high intensity may enhance the efficiency of visual detection of both threatening and nonthreatening targets. Read


Morgan R. Shields
Christine L Larson
Ann M. Swartz
J. Carson Smith