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The relationship between active travel (AT) and nonverbal intelligence (NI) – A systematic review

Title data

Herfet, Melinda ; Tittlbach, Susanne:
The relationship between active travel (AT) and nonverbal intelligence (NI) – A systematic review.
Event: 54. asp-Jahrestagung 2022 , 16. bis 18. Juni 2022 , Münster, Deutschland.
(Conference item: Conference , Speech )

Abstract in another language

It is widely known that physical activity generally improves brain structure and functions in children, adolescents, and older adults. Active travel (AT), meaning all kinds of non motorized, human-powered transportation (e.g., walking, cycling, skateboarding, or roller-skating), is an appropriate form of physical activity. Therefore, we hypothesise that AT could improve neuropsychological development, benefit executive and visuospatial cognitive abilities, and prevent cognitive degeneration regardless of age. Recent research focused on the benefits of active commuting to school (ACS), a subcategory of AT, and its effects on children’s academic achievement, which is strongly connected to verbal intelligence (language and arithmetic). However, it is known that the cultural context, in terms of socio-economic status (SES) and environmental preconditions, plays the most important role in the relationship between active mobility and cognition. Therefore, cognitive functions related to education and language are not suitable for global comparison, so only nonverbal intelligence (NI) is to be considered. NI is assessed by tests that remove verbal language demands from both administration and response and describes thinking skills and problem-solving abilities like visual processing, reasoning, and perception. Accordingly, this systematic review aims to summarise existing studies on the relationship between AT and NI, reveal significant research gaps, and provide avenues for further research. The five electronic databases PubMed, Web of Science, ScienceDirect, APA PsycNet, and EBSCO were systematically searched for articles published from January 2011 until February 2022. Out of 1310 hits, 38 articles were assessed for eligibility, and eight articles were finally included in the review. A total of 9909 healthy participants across eight countries, aged 4 to 77 years and uniformly distributed regarding gender, were analysed. Seven studies examined children’s ACS, and one study explored general AT in an older population. In sum, four studies resulted in significant effects of AT on NI, mostly in favour of girls, whereas four studies concluded no significant associations. Significant outcomes were found for reasoning ability, working memory, attention, and visuospatial skills. Nonsignificant outcomes were found for information-processing speed, inhibitory control, and general nonverbal intelligence. Results demonstrate both the insufficient study situation and the potential of exploring the relationship between AT and NI. Findings are discussed referring to study range, population, measuring tools, and realisation differences, and starting points for future research are provided.

Further data

Item Type: Conference item (Speech)
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Active travel; Physical activity; Nonverbal intelligence; Cognition
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Cultural Studies > Department of Sport Science > Chair Sport Science III - Social and Health Sciences in Sport > Chair Sport Science III - Social and Health Sciences in Sport - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Susanne Tittlbach
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 100 Philosophy and psychology > 150 Psychology
700 Arts and recreation > 790 Sports, games, entertainment
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2022 06:56
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2022 06:56
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/71340