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By Audrey Mauch, Health Sciences; Karlee Proctor, Health Sciences
Advisor: Pierce Boyne
Presentation ID: PM_B50
Abstract: There has been little research done on if food or exercise is more beneficial to cognitive performance, but many researchers have looked at the effects of each individual factor on cognitive performance. Not eating has been proven to have negative effects on cognitive performance, but physical activity with or without food has helped. The purpose of our study is to compare the cognitive effects of eating or exercising after a four hour fast. We will be testing participants aged 18-24 because college-age students often choose between eating or exercising before or between classes. Each participant will perform three different visits, the order randomized for each participant: 1) the participant will eat a protein bar and sit for 15 minutes; 2) they will walk briskly on a treadmill for 25 minutes, then sit for 15 minutes; and 3) they will sit for 15 minutes before testing (as a control). The cognitive tests will consist of a timed 48-piece puzzle to test spatial awareness, a memory challenge to test recall accuracy, and the Stroop test to measure selective attention and cognitive flexibility. We hope to find some sort of difference in cognitive function after eating or exercising so that college students can have a better idea of what their morning routine should look like before going to class!