Effects of physical exercise on negative emotional susceptibility in young adult females: An event-related potential study

Fanghui Qiu, Weiwei Peng, Manman Li, Lanlan Zhang, Hua Zhu, Xiaoying Tan, Hong Li, Jian Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The present study investigated whether habitual physical exercise can regulate susceptibility to negative emotions in young adult female participants. Female participants with and without long-term physical exercise habits were recruited and assigned to exercise and non-exercise groups, respectively. All participants performed a standard/deviant distinction task in which the emotional valence of the deviants could be highly negative (HN), moderately negative (MN), or neutral. Event-related potentials (ERPs) elicited by deviants were recorded and compared between the two groups. Regardless of the emotional valence of the deviants, the exercise group exhibited shorter reaction times (RTs) and greater parietal P3 responses to all deviants, compared to the non-exercise group, consistent with a superiority in detecting and responding to deviants. Importantly, whereas the non-exercise group showed greater frontal-central N2 responses to MN deviant stimuli than to neutral deviant stimuli, such a difference was not observed in the exercise group, indicating that the participants who exercised regularly had decreased attentional capture and allocation to MN deviants, and thus an apparent decreased negative emotional susceptibility selectively to moderately negative emotional stimuli. These results may indicate an effect of physical exercise on the processing of negative emotional information and support the promotion of physical exercise in the maintenance of mental health in females.

Original languageEnglish
Article number146382
JournalBrain Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Event-related potentials
  • N2 response
  • Negative emotions
  • Physical exercise
  • Susceptibility


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