Poster F32, Tuesday, March 27, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
The Negative Association of Underweight to Academic Performance and Cognitive Control in Undergraduate Women
Keita Kamijo1, Toru Ishihara2, Suguru Torii1, Charles H. Hillman3; 1Waseda University, 2Tamagawa University Brain Science Institute, 3Northeastern University
Given the global epidemic of obesity, a growing number of studies have demonstrated the negative association between obesity and higher-order cognitive functions (i.e., cognitive control), which have broad implications for academic performance. These findings suggest that being obese is adversely related to not only physical health, but cognitive health and function as well. On the contrary, little is known about the association of underweight to cognitive health, even though being underweight has been associated with several health risks such as osteoporosis, infertility, and increased mortality. This study examined the relation of underweight to cognitive control, which was assessed using a neuroelectric measure of action monitoring, and academic performance in healthy undergraduate women. Underweight and normal weight participants performed an arrowhead version of a flanker task. Error-related negativity (ERN) was assessed during the flanker task, since this component has been thought to be a potential biomarker of academic performance in undergraduate students. Participants also reported their grade point average (GPA). Data were analyzed with multiple regression analysis, controlling for confounding variables. Analyses revealed that body mass index (BMI) was negatively associated with ERN amplitude, as underweight participants exhibited smaller ERN amplitude relative to their normal weight peers. Underweight participants also had lower GPA. These results suggest that underweight young women, relative to their normal weight counterparts, have less ability to monitor their performance and/or upregulate cognitive control, which in turn might underlie their lower GPA.
Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Monitoring & inhibitory control