Body vs. Brain
Existing evidence suggests that aerobic exercise may be beneficial for optimising cognitive performance and classroom learning, with exercise proposed to have a direct impact on the structure and function of the brain. This may be particularly important during adolescent years where substantial brain development occurs. The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between aerobic fitness, cognitive and academic performance in adolescent schoolboys.
There are multiple parts of this PhD that will consist of measuring the effects of long-term exercise intervention on cognition and academic performance of sedentary boys, the acute effects of varying exercise interventions on cognition of healthy boys, and a cross-sectional investigation of students from our partner school Raffles Institute in Singapore.
Elite Athlete Perception
Elite Athletes are often revered as part of the Australian popular culture and thus consideration and opinions are made to the way they are represented. This University of Sydney lead study is about the ways in which elite athletes wish to be represented in photographic images wherein those photos will be shown to young girls and boys (9-14) in a number of focus groups. These focus groups will explore the meanings given by the girls and boys to those sporting photographs in relation to authentic athletic identity, sporting personality and those qualities they deem to be most relevant to sporting role models. It is expected that a greater understanding of the role of presentation in sporting identity be afforded by this study.
Maturation represents one individual variable that reciprocally interacts with many other social and environmental variables to either facilitate or inhibit individual development. This long-term study aims to further examine maturation associated with the school and sport development contexts. The primary aim will be to quantify the size and strength of the relationship between indicators of maturation and indicators of physical and academic performance. This will help identify the differential or a standardized effect of maturation on physical and academic performance. Then, by profiling individuals into ‘early’, ‘average’, and ‘late-maturers’ and by applying a longitudinal design, the study will then aim to examine whether academic and physical performance trajectories change in accordance with maturational development.
Helpful Readings from Research Partners
Dr John Orchard BA, MD, PhD, FACSP, FACSM, FFSEM (UK), is a Sports Physician, and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Sydney, School of Public Health.
Dr Carmel Harrington PhD, LLB, BSc, DipEd is the Managing Director of Sleep for Health and an Honorary Research Fellow at the Children's Hospital Westmead