Monday, September 21, 2009

Exercise Makes You Smarter

I was reading a NYTimes Magazine article this weekend and was struck by an experiment (abstract available here) that compared running, lifting weights, and sitting quietly and how well college students did on a memory task.  Running led to better memory than either of the other two.  According to the abstract:
These data extend the current knowledge base by indicating that acute exercise-induced changes in cognition are disproportionately related to executive control and may be specific to the aerobic exercise domain.
Translated: aerobic exercises such as running apparently do something to the brain to make it work better.

How I can tie this to political knowledge, I'm not sure.  It's not like we can make people do jumping jacks while watching or reading the news, but it might be interesting to include in a survey items that attempt to tap a respondent's aerobic activities.  My guess is, any difference or effect here is lost in the maze of other potential variables that influence political knowledge -- which is usually more long-term memory, than this example.  Still cool. 

Gotta run!

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