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Professional athletes have extraordinary skills for rapidly learning complex and neutral dynamic visual scenes


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Evidence suggests that an athlete's sports-related perceptual-cognitive expertise is a crucial element of top-level competitive sports1. When directly assessing whether such experience-related abilities correspond to fundamental and non-specific cognitive laboratory measures such as processing speed and attention, studies have shown moderate effects leading to the conclusion that their special abilities are context-specific2. We trained 308 observers on a complex dynamic visual scene task void of context and motor control requirements3 and demonstrate that professionals as a group dramatically differ from high-level amateur athletes, who dramatically differ from non-athlete university students in their capacity to learn such stimuli. This demonstrates that a distinguishing factor explaining the capacities of professional athletes is their ability to learn how to process complex dynamic visual scenes. This gives us an insight as to what is so special about the elite athletes' mental abilities, which allows them to express great prowess in action.
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Professional athletes have extraordinary
skills for rapidly learning complex and
neutral dynamic visual scenes
Jocelyn Faubert
NSERC-Essilor Industrial Research Chair, Visual Psychophysics and Perception Laboratory, School of Optometry, University of
Evidence suggests that an athlete’s sports-related perceptual-cognitive expertise is a crucial element of
top-level competitive sports
. When directly assessing whether such experience-related abilities correspond to
fundamental and non-specific cognitive laboratory measures such as processing speed and attention, studies
have shown moderate effects leading to the conclusion that their special abilities are context-specific
trained 308 observers on a complex dynamic visual scene task void of context and motor control
and demonstrate that professionals as a group dramatically differ from high-level amateur
athletes, who dramatically differ from non-athlete university students in their capacity to learn such stimuli.
This demonstrates that a distinguishing factor explaining the capacities of professional athletes is their ability
to learn how to process complex dynamic visual scenes. This gives us an insight as to what is so special about
the elite athletes’ mental abilities, which allows them to express great prowess in action.
hat makes elite athletes so special? Do brains of athletes anatomically and functionally differ from
non-athletes and does this diff erence relate to performance level? A recent paper showed that
high-level athletes have increased cortical thickness in a few areas of the brain and that this
increased anatomical vol ume is correlated with the level of athletic training
. One of the areas identified
in the athlete brain as different from controls was the superior temporal sulcus (STS), which plays a
particular role in socially relevant stimuli
and biological motion perception
. Biologic al motion perception
involves the visual systems’ capacity to recognize complex human movements when they are presented as a
pattern of a few moving dots. This task is recognized as a critical and fundamen tal abil ity of social relev ance
and is a very strong dynamic cue that can be used for collision avoidance
and anti cipate opponents’
movements in sports
. Th is is further supported by a recen t study showing that athletes may be superior
to non-athletes for processing soci ally realistic multitasking crowd scenes involving pedestrians crossing
. The superi or abilities of high-level athletes for sports specifi c and socially realistic scenes both
correspond to stimuli to whi ch athletes have been extensively exposed throu ghout their lifespan. We are still
lacking strong evidence that such abil ities represent fundamental perceptual-cognitive abilities that would be
expressed in laboratory measures void of social or contextual content
The 3-dimensional multiple-object-tracking speed threshold task (3D-MOT) was recently proposed as an
optimal training procedure for isolating critical mental abilities when processing dynamic scenes such as when
navigating in traffic or during sports activities
. The method relies on particular features suggested to be fun-
damental such as; 1) distributing attention among a number of moving targets among distractors, known in the
literature as Multiple Object Tracking
, 2) a large visual field 3) speed thresholds, and 4) binocular 3-dimen-
sional cues (3D) (i.e. stereoscopic vision). The rationale for using such conditions has been described in detail
. We tested a total of 308 individuals separated into three distinct groups based on their performance
levels in sports to determine whether the level of sports performance can distinguish the learning rate capacities
for this complex and neutral visual scene task.
A total of 102 professional players (mean age 5 23,8 6 5,5 SD, median 22) from three different sports including
51 professional soccer players (English Premier League (EPL)), 21 professional ice hockey players (National
10 December 2012
7 January 2013
31 January 2013
Correspondence and
requests for materials
should be addressed to
J.F. (jocelyn.faubert@
SCIENTIFIC REPORTS | 3 : 1154 | DOI: 10.1038/srep01154 1
Hockey League (NHL)) and 30 professional rugby players (French
Top 14 Rugby League (Top14)). We also tested a total of 173 elite
amateurs (mean age 5 23,5 6 5,8 SD, median 22) with 136 from the
NCAA university sports program in the US and 37 from a European
Olympic sport-training center. We have also tested 33 non-athlete
university students (mean age 5 23,8 6 5,0 SD, median 22) from the
de Montre
We have previously reported that, given identical conditions, top
professional soccer, ice hockey or rugby teams generate very similar
sensitivity profiles
. For this reason the professionals are presented as
a single population group. Similarly, we obtained identical functions
for our two amateur cohorts (NCAA and Olympic training center)
studied here so again, we show the elite amateurs as one group.
Figure 1 shows the session-by-session geometrical mean graphs
for the three groups with the session number on the x-axis and the
3D-MOT speed thresholds on a log y-axis. The fits shown are log
regression functions and the R
corresponds to the amount of vari-
ance explained by the fit. The data clearly show that the professional
athlete group starts at higher speed values with a much steeper learn-
ing slope as a function of training session then the elite amateurs. In
turn, the elite-amateur group starts at the same level as the non-
athletes but the learning function rapidly distances itself from the
one obtained for thenon-athlete university group. To emphasize the
learning rate differences between the groups, the small graph on the
right shows the normalized data (Log(sessions score) Log(initial
score)). One can see that the three learning rate functions are distinct
regardless of the initial starting point scores.
The present results show a clear distinction between the level of
athletic performance and corresponding fundamental mental
capacities for learning an abstract and demanding dynamic scene
task. How would this exceptional ability translate to specific real-life
situations? For athletes, it is obviously related to their high levels of
competitive sport performance. But what actions can we predict are
enhanced by such a specialised ability for learning dynamic complex
scenes? It would make logical sense that high-level athletes should
be superior for achieving biological motion perception skills for
instance. This is supported by the fact that cortical thickness of
STS, an area known to process socially relevant cues and biological
motion perception
, is greater and linked to training experience in
. In other populations such as healthy older observers it has
been shown that training with the 3D-MOT results in a direct sub-
sequent transfer benefit to biological motion perception abilities at
distances critical for collision avoidance
. The 3D-MOT speed task
strongly engages several attention and mental skills that should carry
over to other functions. To achieve high levels on this task one
requires exquisite selective, dynamic, distributed and sustained
attention skills for brief yet intense periods. Such abilities are cer-
tainly necessary when engaged in activities requiring the integration
of simultaneous inputs such as when driving, crossing busy streets or
when engaged in sporting activities. We have previously shown that
the condition of testing can influence the learning curve
. This was
demonstrated by the fact that if the professional players were stand-
ing as opposed sitting down for the initial consolidation training, the
growth curve was reduced, which argues for shared resources. It
remains to be determined whether this is specific to professional
athletes or whether it can also be observed in other populations, as
there clearly is something special about professional athletes. They
appear to be able to hyper-focus for short periods of time resulting in
extraordinary learning functions for the 3D-MOT task. We cannot
determine here whether this superb ability to learn to process
Figure 1
Geometrical 3D-MOT speed threshold means for 308 individuals on a log scale separated into professional, elite-amateur and
non-athlete university students as a function of training sessions. The y values are arbitrary speed units. Only 14 sessions are shown for the amateurs
because the protocol for the Olympic training center athletes was pre-set to terminate at 14 sessions. Error bars represent SEM.
SCIENTIFIC REPORTS | 3 : 1154 | DOI: 10.1038/srep01154 2
random and complex dynamic scenes has evolved by experience or
stems from an innate predisposition. Prospective outcomes of athlete
performance based on initial measures should prove very interesting
in the future. The 3D-MOT method has been used to profile athletes
for both the NHL and NFL combines where the best prospects for the
entry draft are evaluated on a series of test batteries. It will be inter-
esting to see whether these initial scores predict future performance
outcomes. It is clear that individual performances on this task will be
affected by many factors other than athletic skill including, sensory,
physical, and psychological makeup so we should not expect a direct
one to one relationship. It is clear that individual performances on
this task will be affected by many factors other than athletic skill
including, sensory, physical, and psychological makeup so we should
not expect a direct one to one relationship. Nevertheless, our results
do suggest that rapid learning in complex and unpredictable dyna-
mic contexts is one of the critical components for elite performance.
In conclusion, we have demonstrated that professional athletes as
a group have extraordinary skills for rapidly learning unpredictable,
complex dynamic visual scenes that are void of any specific context.
It is clear from these results that these remarkable mental processing
and learning abilities should be acknowledged as critical elements for
world-class performance in sport and potentially elite performance
abilities in other dynamic contexts.
The observers trained up to 15 sessions separated over a minimum of five different
days using the NeuroTracker
CORE program distributed by CogniSens Athletics
Inc., which is the commercial equivalent of the laboratory 3D-MOT speed threshold
procedure that has been licenced by CogniSens Athletics Inc. from the Universite
al. Each session lasted around 8 minutes and the subjects were not allowed to
train for more then three sessions in a given day. The basic 3-D MOT trial sequence is
presented in Figure 2 and comprises of 5 steps (see legend).
The size of the 3D volume space was 46 degrees of visual angle at the level of the
screen. After a single trial (Figure 2), if the subject got all 4 indexed spheres correct the
speed went up for the next trial. If at least one sphere was missed the speed slowed
down on the next trial (1 up 1 down staircase) so on and so forth until a threshold was
. All subjects gave the answers verbally and an experimenter recorded the
answers on a keyboard. This study was approved by the ethics board of the Universite
de Montre
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This work was supported by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of
Canada discovery grant. I would like to thank Dr. Leonard Zaichkowsky for helpful
Author contributions
J.F. wrote the manuscript text, did the analysis and prepared the figures.
Additional information
Competitive financial interests: The author is director of the Visual Psychophysics and
Perception Laboratory at the University of Montreal and he is the Chief Science Officer of
CogniSens Athletics Inc. who produces the commercial version of the 3D-MOT used in this
study. In this capacity, he holds shares in the company.
License: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
License. To view a copy of this license, visit
How to cite this article: Faubert, J. Professional athletes haveextraordinaryskills for rapidly
learning complex and neutral dynamic visualscenes. Sci. Rep. 3, 1154; DOI:10.1038/
srep01154 (2013).
Figure 2
Five steps of the 3D-MOT task (a) presentation phase where 8 spheres are shown in a 3D volume space, (b) indexing phase where 4 spheres
(targets) change colour (red) and are highlighted (hallo) for 1 second, (c) movement phase where the targets indexed in stage b return to their original
form and colour and all spheres move for 8 seconds crisscrossing and bouncing off of each other and the virtual 3D volume cube walls that are not
otherwise visible, (d) identification phase where the spheres come to a halt and the observer has to identify the 4 spheres originally indexed in phase (b).
The spheres are individually tagged with a number so the observer can give the number corresponding to the original targets, and (e) feedback phase where
the subject is given information on the correct targets.
SCIENTIFIC REPORTS | 3 : 1154 | DOI: 10.1038/srep01154 3
... To achieve this objective, we analyze performance trajectories across 15 MOT sessions using latent growth curve modeling (LGCM), conditioned as a function of diagnostic predictors (i.e., the presence of ADHD, SLD, and/or IDD). We expect fitted performance trajectories to suggest an overall increase in tracking capability, further demonstrating that MOT is accessible and learnable for individuals with different cognitive abilities, as demonstrated by previous research (Faubert, 2013;Makovski & Jiang, 2009;Tullo & Guy, 2018). Given the overlap between ADHD and SLD symptomatology (Mayes et al., 2000) and the attention-learning dynamic (Kelley & Yantis, 2009), we hypothesize reduced learning in MOT performance for individuals that are diagnosed with the presence of attention-or learning-based deficits compared to all other diagnostic profiles. ...
... Learning an attention-based task was examined by repeated practice on the same variant of the MOT task used in our group's previous work that (i) characterized individual differences in attentional capacity across neurotypical adults ; (ii) investigated learning MOT across levels of athleticism in adults (Faubert, 2013), and (iii) evaluated the efficacy of MOT training to transfer to a separate, clinically validated measure of attention (Parsons et al., 2014;Tullo & Guy, 2018). The MOT task was presented on a 51" (i.e., 1.3 m) active 3D-TV. ...
... indicating a more suitable model. Furthermore, we tested the value-added of a latent variable assessing quadratic growth given previous findings (see supplemental table 1 for fit indices across the intercept-only, linear, quadratic, and conditional linear models; Faubert, 2013). The addition of this latent variable and the characterization demonstrated excellent fit indices; however, the addition of quadratic growth did not significantly improve the linear model Δχ 2 : (4) = 7.21, p = .125. ...
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There is a significant overlap in symptomology between individuals with deficits in attention and learning, which is explained by the co-dependent dynamic between the two cognitive constructs. Within this dynamic, attentional resources are allocated to salient stimuli while learning mechanisms distinguish relevant from irrelevant information. Moreover, individuals with deficits in higher-order cognition (i.e., intelligence) can demonstrate difficulties in attention and learning. The Multiple Object-Tracking (MOT) task is a sensitive and versatile measure of attention that has characterized individual differences in attention as a function of higher-order cognition. Exploiting the traditional MOT task’s ability to characterize the allocation of attentional resources to task demands, the current study compared learning exhibited on an attention-based task across neurodevelopmental conditions defined by deficits in attention (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; ADHD), learning (specific learning disorder; SLD), and intelligence (intellectual developmental disorder; IDD). Children and adolescents (N = 101) completed 15 sessions on a Multiple Object-Tracking (MOT) task where performance trajectories were analyzed using latent growth curve modeling and conditioned by the presence of ADHD, SLD, or IDD while controlling for performance on a separate measure of attention, age, and sex. The sample, characterized by below-average IQ and problematic levels of attention, exhibited an effect of learning on MOT. However, individuals with an IDD diagnosis demonstrated decreased baseline MOT capability while ADHD and SLD profiles exhibited decreased slopes, relative to other neurodevelopmental conditions. Taken together, the results demonstrate distinct linear performance trajectories between neurodevelopmental conditions defined by deficits in attention, learning, and intelligence. The current study provides additional evidence to repurpose the traditional MOT task as a descriptor of attention and discusses alternative uses for the paradigm. Overall, these results suggest an eclectic approach that considers attention, learning, and higher-order cognition when diagnosing ADHD, SLD, or IDD.
... The development of these attentional and perceptual abilities changes with age and can be modified with sports experience [15,21,[23][24][25]. To measure this perceptual cognitive ability, a 3-dimensional multiple-object tracking (3D-MOT) task consisting of simultaneously tracking several moving objects among moving distractors can be used. ...
... Attention and the ability to handle multiple objects at a time are required for the execution of many daily tasks. This capacity can be evaluated by measuring the number of items tracked without error [26][27][28] or the speed at which one can track a certain number of items [15,23,29]. It has been repeatedly demonstrated that the moving object tracking test is a complex task that involves attentional mechanisms, including selective attention [30][31][32] and sustained attention [33,34]. ...
... Faubert and Sidebottom [15] provided a detailed discussion of the underlying rationale for the importance of each element that composes the 3D-MOT speed training task. Additionally, this task has been measured in several populations, such as elderly individuals, children and athletes [15,21,23,25,35,36]. Faubert [23] observed that the MOT learning function was higher in athletes (professionals and elite amateurs) than in university students and that this function was dependent on sports performance level (professionals better than elite amateurs). ...
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To achieve optimal performance in sports, it is essential to have strong perceptual cognitive abilities. Evidence suggests that athletes have superior perceptual abilities compared to nonathletes. However, gender differences in athletes’ perceptual cognitive abilities have not been previously reported. This project aims to evaluate perceptual cognitive abilities among male and female adolescents. To measure perceptual abilities, a 3-dimensional multiple-object tracking task was used. The findings confirm the superior perceptual cognitive abilities in young athletes relative to nonathletes. However, our results indicate differences in performance patterns between male and female athletes. These results demonstrate that sports engagement and perceptual cognitive abilities are strongly related during adolescence and that this relationship seems more prevalent in male athletes for this age group.
... Comparatively, Mangine et al. (2014) observed strong positive correlation in professional athletes with performance metrics (Mangine et al., 2014). Faubert (2013) demonstrated a difference exists in baseline VTS between elite athletes, amateurs, and non-athlete college students (Faubert, 2013). A recent investigation utilizing the transfer of NT to in-game basketball performance in a younger population (19.9 ± 1.1 years) produced nonsignificant results compared to the control group of conventional training (Komarudin et al., 2021). ...
... Comparatively, Mangine et al. (2014) observed strong positive correlation in professional athletes with performance metrics (Mangine et al., 2014). Faubert (2013) demonstrated a difference exists in baseline VTS between elite athletes, amateurs, and non-athlete college students (Faubert, 2013). A recent investigation utilizing the transfer of NT to in-game basketball performance in a younger population (19.9 ± 1.1 years) produced nonsignificant results compared to the control group of conventional training (Komarudin et al., 2021). ...
Full-text available
Correlations between sport performance and visual training have been previously demonstrated. However, it remains unclear if these relationships exist between visual tracking thresholds and in-competition decision-making metrics. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between visual tracking speed (VTS) and soccer-specific performance measures. 19 NCAA Division I soccer players VTS was measured from 1-core session on a 3-demensional multiple object tracking (3D-MOT) software NeuroTracker (NT) and soccer performance metrics were obtained from WyScout. Spearman’s rank order correlation coefficient was utilized to examine potential correlations between criterion variables. There was nonsignificant correlation between VTS score and passing accuracy (r = -0.380). However, there was a strong correlation found between consistency score and passing accuracy (r = 0.650). When examining players based on their positional role, for attacking players there were nonsignificant strong correlation with consistency and passing accuracy (r = 0.730). For defenders, consistency and defensive win rate had a strong correlation (r = 0.731). Although there was no significant correlation seen between VTS and decision-making variables when examining the entire team, there was a significant strong positive relationship between consistency scores and passing accuracy. Future research should seek to include multiple teams for improved sample size.
... We utilized a 3D-MOT task (see Fig. 1), which has been developed, refined, and widely evaluated by several researchers [17,22,65]. All participants sat in the valid control area of the two base stations in a quiet room. ...
... (1) The last four inversions represent a stable indication of threshold, as adopted in various previous studies to evaluate stable, nearmaximal MOT performance [17,84]. We calculated the speed ratio threshold from the average value of the last four inversion pairs of trials (i.e., four pairs of correct and incorrect trials) and average speed. ...
Three-dimensional multiple object tracking (3D-MOT) has been used in various fields to mimic real-life tracking, especially in perceptual-cognitive skills training for soccer. Yet, the learning efficiency in 3D-MOT tasks has not been compared with 2D-MOT. Further, whether the advantage can be reflected by heart rate variability (HRV) based on the neurovisceral integration model should also be examined. Therefore, we used both 2D- and 3D-MOT in a brief adaptive task procedure for adolescent female soccer players with HRV measurement. A faster tracking speed threshold of participants was found in the 3D- compared to 2D-MOT, as well as average tracking speed in the last training period of 3D-MOT. Moreover, lower low frequency (LF) components of HRV in the 3D-MOT indicated a flow experience, demonstrating the provision of more attentional resources. Therefore, we observed that adolescent female soccer players demonstrated higher learning efficiency in 3D-MOT tasks in virtual reality (VR) through a higher flow experience. This study examined the learning efficiency between the two MOT tasks in the soccer domain using evidence from HRV and highlighted the utility and applicability of 3D-MOT application.
... Neurotracker (CogniSensAthletics, Inc., Montreal, Quebec, Canada) is a computing tool for tracking multiple objects in three dimensions (3D). The training involves different cognitive functions, such as attention, processing speed information, working memory, and visual perception (Faubert, 2013;Parsons et al., 2016;Trick et al., 2005). ...
Computerized cognitive training tools are an alternative to preventive treatments related to cognitive impairment and aging. In this study, the transfer of 3D multiple object tracking (3D-MOT) training on manual dexterity concerning fine and gross motor skills in 38 elderly participants, half of them with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and the other half with mild dementia (MD) was explored. A total of 36 sessions of the 3D-MOT training program were administered to the subjects. The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) test was used to assess the baseline cognitive status of the participants. Two batteries of manual motor skills (GPT and MMDT) were applied before and after the 3D-MOT training program. The results showed an interaction effect of training and improvement in manual dexterity tests, from the first training session until the fifteenth session, and after this range of sessions, the interaction effect was lost. However, the training effect continued to the end of the thirty-six-session program. The experimental results show the effect of cognitive training on the improvement of motor skills in older adults. This type of intervention could have a broad impact on the aging population in terms of their attention, executive functions, and therefore, their quality of life.
... In team ball sports, players monitor the positions and movements of the ball but also track the positions of opponents and teammates on the field, which is replicated in the requirements of the MOT paradigm. Other studies also showed that superior tracking performance in the MOT task is significantly related to training experience among team-ball players (Faubert, 2013;Fanghui et al., 2018). Hence, there is evidence to support the notion that team ball sport activities may improve visual attention. ...
Full-text available
Simultaneous tracking of the position of the ball and player locations and activities places high demands on visual attention in team ball sport athletes. Owing to their extensive sports training, these athletes may be expected to exhibit visual attention skills superior to non-athletes; however, the results of studies examining this are inconsistent. Thus, the first aim of this study was to assess the impact of participating in a team ball sport on visual attention. There is limited empirical evidence indicating a sex difference in visual attention, and few studies have reported on visual attention in male and female athletes. Thus, the second aim of this study was to determine whether team ball sport experience affected any sex differences in visual attention. In total, 44 highly skilled basketball players—22 men (mean age: 21.86 ± 2.15 years) with a mean (SD) of 8.46 (2.92) years training experience and 22 women (mean age: 21.32 ± 1.58 years) with a mean (SD) of 8.22 (2.44) years of training experience—and 44 non-athletic undergraduate college students—22 men (mean age: 21.62 ± 1.88 years) and 22 women (mean age: 21.55 ± 1.72 years)—were recruited and completed this study. Visual attention was measured by using the multiple object tracking (MOT) task. Skilled basketball players showed superior tracking accuracy to non-athletic college students on the MOT task. A significant sex difference was found only among the non-athletic college students, with better tracking accuracy for men than for women on the MOT task. By contrast, no significant sex difference was observed among the skilled basketball players for tracking accuracy on the MOT task. These findings indicated that team ball sport training may enhance visual attention as assessed by tracking accuracy. Given that the male and female basketball players in this study had similar training experience and game performance demands, long-term team ball sport experience appeared to minimize the sex difference in visual attention found among non-athletic students.
... Different brain connectivity (functional and effective) has been found between them. Also, there is quite a lot of literature regarding the effect of professional specialization or expertise on the brain (such as in drivers [34,35], in musicians [36], in surgeons [15], in athletes [37], among others). Here we found that there is no significant difference between media and non-media professionals in terms of alpha asymmetry when watching audiovisual cuts. ...
Full-text available
The purpose of this study is to determine if there is asymmetry in the brain activity between both hemispheres while watching cuts in movies. We presented videos with cuts to 36 participants, registered electrical brain activity through electroencephalography (EEG) and analyzed asymmetry in frontal, somatomotor, temporal, parietal and occipital areas. EEG power and alpha (8–13 Hz) asymmetry were analyzed based on 4032 epochs (112 epochs from videos × 36 participants) in each hemisphere. On average, we found negative asymmetry, indicating a greater alpha power in the left hemisphere and a greater activity in the right hemisphere in frontal, temporal and occipital areas. The opposite was found in somatomotor and temporal areas. However, with a high inter-subjects variability, these asymmetries did not seem to be significant. Our results suggest that cuts in audiovisuals do not provoke any specific asymmetrical brain activity in the alpha band in viewers. We conclude that brain asymmetry when decoding audiovisual content may be more related with narrative content than with formal style.
... Nestes esportes, os atletas devem ter eficiência nas informações visuais mais importantes para responder apropriadamente, geralmente quando confrontados com múltiplas escolhas e consequências dispendiosas. Sendo assim, essas habilidades são críticas para o desempenho atlético e são aprimoradas em atletas especialistas (Faubert, 2013;Faubert, 2015). Com base nessa noção de que o movimento específico do contexto padrões são essenciais para os esportes, programas de treinamento que visam ao rastreamento de múltiplos objetos, habilidades foram desenvolvidas recentemente, como, por exemplo, o NeuroTracker (Figura 2). ...
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O livro é um enfrentamento e uma reflexão crítica sobre diferentes marcadores sociais estruturantes da nossa vida social (racismo, gênero, classe social, educação e saúde, esporte e lazer, entre outros). A obra se constitui de duas partes: na primeira, quatro personalidades que transcendem suas especificidades disciplinares, com reconhecimento nacional e internacional, discorrem sobre os temas e questões sociais fundamentais e uma segunda em que pesquisadores das ciências do esporte trazem o conhecimento avançado de seus grupos de trabalho na tentativa de estimular o pensamento crítico e o engajamento ao pensamento democrático.
Visual working memory (VWM) allows us to actively store, update, and manipulate visual information surrounding us. While the underlying neural mechanisms of VWM remain unclear, contralateral delay activity (CDA), a sustained negativity over the hemisphere contralateral to the positions of visual items to be remembered, is often used to study VWM. To investigate if the CDA is a robust neural correlate for VWM tasks, we reproduced eight CDA-related studies with a publicly accessible EEG data set. We used the raw EEG data from these eight studies and analyzed all of them with the same basic pipeline to extract CDA. We were able to reproduce the results from all the studies and show that with a basic automated EEG pipeline we can extract a clear CDA signal. We share insights from the trends observed across the studies and raise some questions about the CDA decay and the CDA during the recall phase, which surprisingly, none of the eight studies did address. Finally, we also provide reproducibility recommendations based on our experience and challenges in reproducing these studies.
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Background The ability to track multiple objects plays a key role in team ball sports actions. However, there is a lack of research focused on identifying multiple object tracking (MOT) performance under rapid, dynamic and ecologically valid conditions. Therefore, we aimed to assess the effects of manipulating postural stability on MOT performance. Methods Nineteen team sports players (soccer, basketball, handball) and sixteen sedentary individuals performed the MOT task under three levels of postural stability (high, medium, and low). For the MOT task, participants had to track three out of eight balls for 10 s, and the object speed was adjusted following a staircase procedure. For postural stability manipulation, participants performed three identical protocols (randomized order) of the MOT task while standing on an unstable platform, using the training module of the Biodex Balance System SD at levels 12 (high-stability), eight (medium-stability), and four (low-stability). Results We found that the ability to track moving targets is dependent on the balance stability conditions (F 2,66 = 8.7, p < 0.001, η² = 0.09), with the disturbance of postural stability having a negative effect on MOT performance. Moreover, when compared to sedentary individuals, team sports players showed better MOT scores for the high-stability and the medium-stability conditions (corrected p -value = 0.008, Cohen’s d = 0.96 and corrected p -value = 0.009, Cohen’s d = 0.94; respectively) whereas no differences were observed for the more unstable conditions (low-stability) between-groups. Conclusions The ability to track moving targets is sensitive to the level of postural stability, with the disturbance of balance having a negative effect on MOT performance. Our results suggest that expertise in team sports training is transferred to non-specific sport domains, as shown by the better performance exhibited by team sports players in comparison to sedentary individuals. This study provides novel insights into the link between individual’s ability to track multiple moving objects and postural control in team sports players and sedentary individuals.
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Despite the abundant data on brain networks processing static social signals, such as pictures of faces, the neural systems supporting social perception in naturalistic conditions are still poorly understood. Here we delineated brain networks subserving social perception under naturalistic conditions in 19 healthy humans who watched, during 3-T functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a set of 137 short (approximately 16 s each, total 27 min) audiovisual movie clips depicting pre-selected social signals. Two independent raters estimated how well each clip represented eight social features (faces, human bodies, biological motion, goal-oriented actions, emotion, social interaction, pain, and speech) and six filler features (places, objects, rigid motion, people not in social interaction, non-goal-oriented action, and non-human sounds) lacking social content. These ratings were used as predictors in the fMRI analysis. The posterior superior temporal sulcus (STS) responded to all social features but not to any non-social features, and the anterior STS responded to all social features except bodies and biological motion. We also found four partially segregated, extended networks for processing of specific social signals: (1) a fronto-temporal network responding to multiple social categories, (2) a fronto-parietal network preferentially activated to bodies, motion, and pain, (3) a temporo-amygdalar network responding to faces, social interaction, and speech, and (4) a fronto-insular network responding to pain, emotions, social interactions, and speech. Our results highlight the role of the pSTS in processing multiple aspects of social information, as well as the feasibility and efficiency of fMRI mapping under conditions that resemble the complexity of real life.
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In our everyday life, processing complex dynamic scenes such as crowds and traffic is of critical importance. Further, it is well documented that there is an age-related decline in complex perceptual-cognitive processing, which can be reversed with training. It has been suggested that a specific dynamic scene perceptual-cognitive training procedure [the three-dimensional multiple object tracking speed task (3D-MOT)] helps observers manage socially relevant stimuli such as human body movements as seen in crowds or during sports activities. Here, we test this assertion by assessing whether training older observers on 3D-MOT can improve biological motion (BM) perception. Research has shown that healthy older adults require more distance in virtual space between themselves and a point-light walker to integrate BM information than younger adults. Their performances decreased markedly at a distance as far away as 4 m (critical for collision avoidance), whereas performance in young adults remained constant up to 1 m. We trained observers between 64 and 73 years of age on the 3D-MOT speed task and looked at BM perception at 4 and 16 m distances in virtual space. We also had a control group trained on a visual task and a third group without training. The perceptual-cognitive training eliminated the difference in BM perception between 4 and 16 m after only a few weeks, whereas the two control groups showed no transfer. This demonstrates that 3D-MOT training could be a good generic process for helping certain observers deal with socially relevant dynamic scenes.
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Sports experts represent a population of people who have acquired expertise in sports training and competition. Recently, the number of studies on sports experts has increased; however, neuroanatomical changes following extensive training are not fully understood. In this study, we used cortical thickness measurement to investigate the brain anatomical characteristics of professional divers with extensive training experience. A comparison of the brain anatomical characteristics of the non-athlete group with those of the athlete group revealed three regions with significantly increased cortical thickness in the athlete group. These regions included the left superior temporal sulcus, the right orbitofrontal cortex and the right parahippocampal gyrus. Moreover, a significant positive correlation between the mean cortical thickness of the right parahippocampal gyrus and the training experience was detected, which might indicate the effect of extensive training on diving players' brain structure.
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Neuroimaging studies of biological motion perception have found a network of coordinated brain areas, the hub of which appears to be the human posterior superior temporal sulcus (STSp). Understanding the functional role of the STSp requires characterizing the response tuning of neuronal populations underlying the BOLD response. Thus far our understanding of these response properties comes from single-unit studies of the monkey anterior STS, which has individual neurons tuned to body actions, with a small population invariant to changes in viewpoint, position and size of the action being viewed. To measure for homologous functional properties on the human STS, we used fMR-adaptation to investigate action, position and size invariance. Observers viewed pairs of point-light animations depicting human actions that were either identical, differed in the action depicted, locally scrambled, or differed in the viewing perspective, the position or the size. While extrastriate hMT+ had neural signals indicative of viewpoint specificity, the human STS adapted for all of these changes, as compared to viewing two different actions. Similar findings were observed in more posterior brain areas also implicated in action recognition. Our findings are evidence for viewpoint invariance in the human STS and related brain areas, with the implication that actions are abstracted into object-centered representations during visual analysis.
This present article discusses an approach to training high-level athletes' perceptual-cognitive skills. The intention herein is to (a) introduce concepts in regard to what may be required by athletes to optimally process sports-related visual scenes at the perceptual-cognitive level; (b) present an experimental method of how it may be possible to train this capacity in athletes while discussing the necessary features for a successful perceptual-cognitive training outcome; and (c) propose that this capacity may be trainable even among the highest-level athletes. An important suggestion is that a simple difference between sitting and standing testing conditions may strongly influence speed thresholds with this task, which is analogous to game movement dynamics in sports, indicating shared resources between such high-level perceptual-cognitive demands and mechanisms involved in posture control. A discussion follows emphasizing how a perceptual-cognitive training approach may be useful as an integral component of athletic training. The article concludes with possible future directions.
This chapter discusses a computational framework used to retrieve stylistic information from visual human locomotion patterns over the past years. The algorithm was initially developed to identify and analyze sex-specific differences between walkers. It was then changed and further improved and applied to a number of different problems and questions in the context of pattern recognition from biological motion. The general framework and details of the algorithm are provided. Studies where the algorithm was applied are summarized. Finally, the role of the proposed framework in understanding the very complex class of stimuli that our visual system copes with so easily, its value as a model for human perception, and potential ways to generalize and improve it are discussed.
Recent literature has demonstrated the usefulness of fitness and computer-based cognitive training as a means to enhance cognition and brain function. However, it is unclear whether the combination of fitness and cognitive training that results from years of extensive sport training also results in superior performance on tests of cognitive processes. In this study we examine, in a quantitative meta-analysis (k = 20), the relationship between expertise in sports and laboratory-based measures of cognition. We found that athletes performed better on measures of processing speed and a category of varied attentional paradigms, and athletes from interceptive sport types and males showed the largest effects. Based on our results, more research should be done with higher-level cognitive tasks, such as tasks of executive function and more varied sub-domains of visual attention. Furthermore, future studies should incorporate more female athletes and use a diverse range of sport types and levels of expertise. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Cognitive enhancements are associated with sport training. We extended the sport-cognition literature by using a realistic street crossing task to examine the multitasking and processing speed abilities of collegiate athletes and nonathletes. Pedestrians navigated trafficked roads by walking on a treadmill in a virtual world, a challenge that requires the quick and simultaneous processing of multiple streams of information. Athletes had higher street crossing success rates than nonathletes, as reflected by fewer collisions with moving vehicles. Athletes also showed faster processing speed on a computer-based test of simple reaction time, and shorter reaction times were associated with higher street crossing success rates. The results suggest that participation in athletics relates to superior street crossing multitasking abilities and that athlete and nonathlete differences in processing speed may underlie this difference. We suggest that cognitive skills trained in sport may transfer to performance on everyday fast-paced multitasking abilities.
During our daily displacements, we should consider the individuals advancing toward us in order to avoid a possible collision with our congeneric. We developed an experimental design in a virtual immersion room, which allows us to evaluate human capacities for avoiding collisions with other people. In addition, the design allows participants to interact naturally inside this immersive virtual reality setup when a pedestrian is moving toward them, creating a possible risk of collision. Results suggest that the performance is associated with visual and motor capacities and could be adjusted by cognitive social perception.
There is considerable evidence that visual attention is concentrated at a single locus in the visual field, and that this locus can be moved independent of eye movements. Two studies are reported which suggest that, while certain aspects of attention require that locations be scanned serially, at least one operation may be carried out in parallel across several independent loci in the visual field. That is the operation of indexing features and tracking their identity. The studies show that: (a) subjects are able to track a subset of up to 5 objects in a field of 10 identical randomly-moving objects in order to distinguish a change in a target from a change in a distractor; and (b) when the speed and distance parameters of the display are designed so that, on the basis of some very conservative assumptions about the speed of attention movement and encoding times, the predicted performance of a serial scanning and updating algorithm would not exceed about 40% accuracy, subjects still manage to do the task with 87% accuracy. These findings are discussed in relation to an earlier, and independently motivated model of feature-binding--called the FINST model--which posits a primitive identity maintenance mechanism that indexes and tracks a limited number of visual objects in parallel. These indexes are hypothesized to serve the function of binding visual features prior to subsequent pattern recognition.