Regular vigorous-intensity physical activity and walking are associated with divergent but not convergent thinking in japanese young adults

Chong Chen*, Yasuhiro Mochizuki, Kosuke Hagiwara, Masako Hirotsu, Shin Nakagawa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The beneficial effects of regular physical activity (PA) on cognitive functions have received much attention. Recent research suggests that regular PA may also enhance creative thinking, an indispensable cognitive factor for invention and innovation. However, at what intensity regular PA brings the most benefits to creative thinking remains uninvestigated. Furthermore, whether the levels of regular PA affect the acute PA effects on creative thinking is also unclear. In the present study, using a previous dataset that investigated the effects of an acute bout of aerobic exercise on creative thinking in healthy Japanese young adults (22.98 ± 1.95 years old) in the year 2020, we tested the association between different intensities of regular PA (i.e., vigorous, moderate, and walking) and creative thinking with the cross-sectional baseline data using multiple linear regression. We also investigated whether regular PA levels were associated with the acute aerobic exercise intervention effects on creative thinking. The results showed that cross-sectionally, the regular PAs were differentially associated with divergent but not convergent thinking. Specifically, whereas the amount of vigorous-intensity PA was positively associated with fluency and flexibility, the amount of walking was positively associated with novelty on the alternate uses test (AUT) measuring divergent thinking. Importantly, the explained variances of fluency, flexibility, and novelty were 20.3% (p = 0.040), 18.8% (p = 0.055), and 20.1% (p = 0.043), respectively. None of the regular PAs predicted convergent thinking (i.e., an insight problem-solving task), nor were they associated with the acute aerobic exercise intervention effects on divergent and convergent thinking. These findings suggest that engaging in regular vigorous-intensity PA and walking may be useful strategies to enhance different aspects of divergent thinking in daily life.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1046
JournalBrain Sciences
Volume11
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Aug
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Alternate uses test
  • Convergent thinking
  • Creativity
  • Divergent thinking
  • Exercise
  • International physical activity questionnaires

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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