Diversity of daily activities is associated with greater hippocampal volume

Emily J. Urban-Wojcik, Soomi Lee, Daniel W. Grupe, Laurel Quinlan, Lauren Gresham, Angel Hammond, Susan T. Charles, Margie E. Lachman, David M. Almeida, Richard J. Davidson, Stacey M. Schaefer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Greater engagement in a range of daily activities is associated with better cognitive functioning (Lee et al., Lee et al., 2020). The hippocampus, a subcortical brain structure implicated in learning, memory, spatial navigation and other aspects of cognitive functioning, may be structurally sensitive to exposure to and engagement with novel experiences and environments. The present study tested whether greater activity diversity, defined as the range of common daily activities engaged in and the proportion of time spent in each, is associated with larger hippocampal volume. Greater diversity of activities, as measured using daily diaries across an 8-day period, was related to greater hippocampal volume averaged across the left and right hemispheres, even when adjusting for estimated intracranial volume, total activity time, sociodemographic factors, and self-reported physical health. These findings are broadly consistent with nonhuman animal studies, demonstrating a link between enriched environments and structural changes to the hippocampus. Future longitudinal and experimental work can elucidate causal and directional relationships between diversity of daily activities and hippocampal volume.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-87
Number of pages13
JournalCognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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