Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS)

Publication Date

Spring 4-21-2022


Sciences and Mathematics, College of


Psychological Science, Department of

BURS Faculty Advisor

Dr. Timothy Schoenfeld

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation


Research indicates that exercise positively impacts cognitive function, however most studies utilize chronic exercise paradigms. In addition, acute exercise has shown improvements in various cognitive tasks including working memory, however factors that influence the positive effects of acute exercise is unknown. Using rodent models, working memory is often tested using a radial arm maze (RAM) and previous exercise exposure has been found to increase exercise’s influence on rodents’ working memory. To study these effects, we conducted a 2-way experiment utilizing both chronic exercise as past exposure and acute running effects on working memory in adult male rats. During RAM training, running rats (n = 4) were given 2 weeks of unlimited access to the running wheels while sedentary rats (n = 4) had minimal access, only enough to learn to run. After a one-week break to consolidate running effects, all rats were tested on multiple trials over two weeks on the RAM. All rats were either tested at baseline or following 15 minutes of acute exercise, alternating trials to determine the effects of acute exercise on working memory. We ran a 2x2 (prior exercise x acute exercise) mixed-factorial ANOVA and expected to find that rats with prior running experience would have more pronounced positive effects of acute exercise on working memory.