Study Basics

  • This experiment investigates how physical activity may influence the brain. Specifically, we are interested in how a brief session of physical activity may influence cognition, which we will measure by assessing performance on cognitive tasks, electroencephalography (EEG), and salivary sampling.
  • Participants must be between the ages of 18-30, fluent in English, normal or corrected to normal vision, free of physical and mental ailments that would prevent successful completion of exercise or computer-based tasks, able to drool passively for salivary sampling, and not taking any anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, and/or ADD/ADHD medications.

Study Purpose

People are becoming more inactive and unfit. These trends can lead to long-term physical ailments like cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes, and ultimately lead to earlier mortality. However, the impact of these trends on cognitive and brain health is largely left out of the conversation. We know that having an active lifestyle and being physically fit helps cognition and brain health, but the mechanism behind these benefits remains largely unknown and highly debated. In this study, we research a potential mechanism and its role in the benefit of an acute bout of exercise.

Could this study be right for you?

In order to participate in this study, you must be:

  • Between the ages of 18-30 years old 
  • Fluent in English 
  • Normal (or corrected to normal) vision 
  • Free of physical and mental ailments that would prevent successful completion of exercise and computer-based tasks. 
  • Able to passively drool for salivary sampling. 
  • Not taking any anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, and/or ADD/ADHD medications.
  • AGE: 18 - 30
  • VISITS: 3
  • DURATION: 1 - 2 hours/visit

This is a randomized clinical trial. We collect salivary, neuroimaging, and behavioral outcomes and store all data de-identified in a HIPPA compliant database. None of the information you provide will be linked to you or your child.

If you are interested, please contact our research coordinator at

We are actively recruiting new subjects!

What participants can expect

    • On your first day, we go over informed consent documents, and you can ask us any questions you may have. We make sure you are safe and eligible to participate in the study. We practice collecting saliva samples and practice the cognitive task you will play on subsequent visits. You will be asked to lie on a scanner table while our DXA non-invasively collects information about your bone density and body mass. We end the day with a VO2 max test. You will be asked to run/walk on a treadmill for approximately 7-10 minutes while we collect information about how your body uses oxygen while you exercise.
    • On your subsequent days, you will perform the salivary collections and cognitive task you practiced on the first day. You will be asked to wear an EEG cap that tells us information about which parts of your brain are activated while you play the cognitive task. An activity will happen in the middle of the session – resting for 20 mins, walking for 20 mins, or doing a speech and math task for ~15 mins. We also collect questionnaires about your health history and demographics.

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