Date of Completion
Honors College Thesis
Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors
set shifting, voluntary exercise, attention, rodent, adolescence, prefrontal cortex
Physical exercise has been shown to have positive impacts on executive functioning (working memory, inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility) in humans of all ages. Rodent studies provide further insight into how exercise may impact the extent of the cognitive benefits for adult versus adolescent rodents. Preliminary data from our laboratory suggest that exercise may improve cognitive flexibility in adolescent rats. In the current experiment, we directly compare exercising versus non-exercising adolescent and young adult rats in cognitive flexibility. We hypothesized that adolescent rats with access to a home cage running wheel would perform best in a maze-based cognitive flexibility task. We also examined whether or not these hypothesized benefits remain after exercise stops. We did not find support for our hypothesis; exercise had no detectable effect on cognitive flexibility in adolescent or young adult rats. We discuss some reasons why we might not have observed exercise-related effects in the current study, such as low running distances seen in the exercising rats when compared to prior studies.
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Ostrowski, Izabella, "Effects of Voluntary Exercise on Prefrontal-Dependent Set-Shifting in Adolescent Rats" (2019). UVM Honors College Senior Theses. 313.