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Physiol Behav. 2007 Feb 28;90(2-3):394-404. Epub 2006 Nov 20.

Emotional & electroencephalographic responses during affective picture viewing after exercise.

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Department of Exercise Science, The University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602-6554, USA.


We examined the effects of 30 min of cycling exercise at a moderate intensity of 50% peak oxygen uptake, compared to 30 min of rest, on changes in emotional responses to pictorial foreground stimuli that reliably elicit unpleasant, neutral, and pleasant affect. Emotional responses were measured by self-reports of valence (unpleasant to pleasant) and arousal (low to high) and by hemispheric asymmetry (R-L) of frontal and parietal brain electroencephalographic (EEG) activity in 13 females and 21 males (24+/-3 y). Compared to after rest, self-reports of arousal in response to unpleasant slides were diminished after exercise, but self-reports of valence and frontal asymmetry of alpha frequencies were generally unchanged. Even so, there were differential responses in asymmetry in the beta frequencies in the frontal region and for alpha and beta frequencies in the parietal region, indicative of decreased activity in the left frontal and right parietal regions after exercise compared to after rest. We conclude that moderately intense cycling exercise generally does not alter emotional responding to pleasant and neutral pictures, but may reduce emotional arousal during exposure to unpleasant stimuli.

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