Exercise Psychology and Children's Intelligence

Phillip D. Tomporowski, Jack A. Naglieri and Kate Lambourne

in The Oxford Handbook of Exercise Psychology

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780195394313
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Exercise Psychology and Children's Intelligence

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The consensus among academics regarding the malleability of intelligence has vacillated over the past century. Recent observations of brain plasticity over the life span have spurred interest in the effects of environmental interventions on intelligence and cognitive function. Folk psychology has long promoted a link between children's exercise and physical development and their general intelligence. While it is plausible that exercise benefits children's brain development, our review of published studies fails to support the view that exercise training induces robust global improvements in children's intelligence. A few studies, however, provide evidence that exercise may facilitate specific types of cognitive functioning. Children's executive functions appear particularly sensitive to exercise interventions. At present, the ability to draw general conclusions concerning the exercise–intelligence relation is hindered by a lack of methodologically sound studies.

Keywords: children; adolescents; intelligence; cognition; physical activity; exercise; psychometrics; pediatrics

Article.  15236 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Health Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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