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Working Memory, Cognitive Load and Cardiorespiratory Fitness: Testing the CRUNCH Model with Near-Infrared Spectroscopy

1
Centre de Recherches sur la Cognition et l’Apprentissage (UMR 7295), Université de Poitiers and Université François-Rabelais de Tours, 86073 Poitiers CEDEX 9 France
2
Atelier SHERPAS—Unité de Recherche Pluridisciplinaire Sport Santé Société (EA 7369), Université d’Artois, 62800 Liévin, France
3
Laboratoire Sciences de la Cognition, Technologie, Ergonomie (SCoTE—EA 7420), Université de Toulouse, INU Champollion, 81012 Albi, France
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(2), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9020038
Received: 27 December 2018 / Revised: 1 February 2019 / Accepted: 6 February 2019 / Published: 9 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exercising against Age-Effects on the Brain)
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Abstract

The present study aimed to examine the effects of chronological age and cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) on cognitive performance and prefrontal cortex activity, and to test the compensation-related utilization of neural circuits hypothesis (CRUNCH). A total of 19 young adults (18–22 years) and 37 older ones (60–77 years) with a high or low CRF level were recruited to perform a working memory updating task under three different cognitive load conditions. Prefrontal cortex hemodynamic responses were continuously recorded using functional near-infrared spectroscopy, and behavioral performances and perceived difficulty were measured. Results showed that chronological age had deleterious effects on both cognitive performance and prefrontal cortex activation under a higher cognitive load. In older adults, however, higher levels of CRF were related to increased bilateral prefrontal cortex activation patterns that allowed them to sustain better cognitive performances, especially under the highest cognitive load. These results are discussed in the light of the neurocognitive CRUNCH model. View Full-Text
Keywords: fNIRS; aging; cognitive load; cardiorespiratory fitness; cerebral oxygenation; updating of working memory fNIRS; aging; cognitive load; cardiorespiratory fitness; cerebral oxygenation; updating of working memory
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Agbangla, N.F.; Audiffren, M.; Pylouster, J.; Albinet, C.T. Working Memory, Cognitive Load and Cardiorespiratory Fitness: Testing the CRUNCH Model with Near-Infrared Spectroscopy. Brain Sci. 2019, 9, 38.

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