In a new study by the University of Eastern Finland have recently discovered that boys with good motor skills are better problem-solvers than their less skillful peers. Whereas there is no similarity found in girls.
The results also show that boys with better motor skills at baseline had a smaller increase in their cognitive skills than those with poorer motor skills.
In contrast to previous studies, the researchers found no association between aerobic fitness or overweight and obesity with cognitive function in boys. In fact, the study shows that children with different levels of aerobic fitness or body fat percentage did not differ in cognition. Scientists found that boys with higher aerobic fitness had poorer cognition during the two-year follow-up than those with lower fitness.
In girls, none of the above-mentioned factors was associated with cognitive skills. This may be due to biological or sociocultural differences between boys and girls.
Postdoctoral Researcher Eero Haapala from the University of Jyväskylä said, “It is important to remember that these results do not necessarily reflect a causal relation between motor skills and cognition. Boys with poorer motor and cognitive skills at baseline caught up with their more skillful peers during the two-year follow-up.”
The study investigated the longitudinal associations of motor skills, aerobic fitness, and body fat percentage with cognition in 371 children who were 6–8 years old at baseline. Motor skills were evaluated by agility, balance and manual dexterity tests, aerobic fitness by a maximal cycle ergometer test, and body fat percentage by a DXA device.
Cognition was assessed by the Raven’s Matrices Test. Several confounding factors such as parental education and annual household income, were controlled for in the analyses.
However, the outcomes would be premature to claim that motor skills boost cognition. Moreover, there is no relation between aerobic fitness or overweight and obesity with cognition.
The outcomes of the study are published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.