Performance enhancement with low stress and anxiety modulated by cognitive flexibility.

Department of Psychiatry, Chung Ang University Medical School, Seoul, Korea.
Psychiatry investigation (Impact Factor: 1.06). 09/2011; 8(3):221-6. DOI: 10.4306/pi.2011.8.3.221
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to compare cognitive flexibility abilities, stress, and anxiety between starters and non-starter athletes.
A total of 30 male professional-soccer and 40 professional-baseball athletes were recruited. Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) and Trail Making Test A & B (TMT A & B) were administered to assess cognitive flexibility during competition. The Korean version of the STAI form Y (STAI-KY) and Visual analogue scale for anxiety and stress were used to assess the anxiety and stress.
The starter group had better cognitive function (fewer perseverative errors and rapid TMTB times) (Z=3.32, p<0.01; Z=2.20, p=0.03, respectively) and lower stress and anxiety (F=4.34, p=0.01; F=6.61, p<0.01, respectively) during competition than the non-starter group.
The better cognitive performances were negatively correlated with stress and anxiety. Current results suggested that cognitive flexibility would enhance human performance by modulation of the anxiety and stress during competition.

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