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Psychophysiology. 2000 May;37(3):369-77.

P300, N400, aerobic fitness, and maximal aerobic exercise.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Physiologie, Faculté de Médecine de l'Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis, France.


Electrophysiological effects of aerobic fitness and maximal aerobic exercise were investigated by comparing P300 and N400 before and after a maximal cycling test. Event-related potentials (ERPs) were obtained from 20 students divided into two matched groups defined by their aerobic fitness level (cyclists vs. sedentary subjects). The session of postexercise ERPs was performed immediately after body temperature and heart rate returned to preexercise values. At rest, no significant differences were observed in ERP parameters between cyclists and sedentary subjects. This finding argued against the hypothesis that ERP modifications may be directly assumed by aerobic fitness level. The postexercise session of ERPs showed a significant P300 amplitude increase and a significant P300 latency decrease in all subjects. Similarly, N400 effect increased significantly after the maximal exercise in all subjects. ERP changes were of the same magnitude in the two groups. The present study argues for a general arousing effect of maximal aerobic exercise, independently of the aerobic fitness level.

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