The paper presents a theoretical perspective on brain activity that characterizes expert cognitive-motor performance grounded in neural and psychomotor efficiency. Evidence for the position is derived from several different measurement tools (EEG, ERPs, fMRI, EEG coherence) based on empirical studies of (1) expert-novice contrasts, (2) changes in the brain after practice, and (3) motor performance under conditions of mental stress. The impact of mental stress on brain processes during motor performance is then discussed followed by a model of the hypothesized central neural responses to emotion-eliciting events to explain resilience to stress and the ability to “perform under pressure” as observed in high-performing athletes. An overall explanation is offered of the cascade of events that link the perception of the environment in which the performance occurs to the peripheral process of motor unit recruitment and the resultant quality of movement. This integrative perspective on human performance considers multiple levels of explanation including the psychology of sport performance, cognitive-motor neuroscience, and basic biomechanics to understand the kinematic qualities of movement and the effort cost involved.
Bradley D. Hatfield
The relevance of kinesiology to the major issues of public health facing the nation is increasing with time. Of great importance is the area of exercise neuroscience in which remarkable developments have occurred in the past 35 years. The primary investigative efforts to date have been devoted to the impact of exercise on normal brain aging and recent efforts have also focused on the neurocognitive benefit to brain development in children. However, little work has been conducted in those with neurological disorders. The literature includes a number of animal studies that offer biological plausibility for the positive influence of exercise observed on brain structure and cognition in normal human subjects and, collectively, these studies provide a foundation on which to examine the role of exercise treatment in some of the major brain disorders that afflict adults and children today. These include the dementias, stroke, traumatic brain disorder (TBI), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and attentional deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A role for exercise in building resilience to such disorders is discussed here that may assist in reducing the financial and emotional burden of these affictions.
Jane E. Clark and Bradley D. Hatfield
Evan B. Brody, Bradley D. Hatfield, and Thomas W. Spalding
This study examined the generalization of self-efficacy to additional stressors upon mastery of a high-risk task (i.e., rappeling). A secondary purpose was to determine if reductions in the psychophysiological anxiety response would occur to controlled laboratory challenges as a result of any psychological changes derived from the mastery experience. To investigate these issues, the researchers assigned college-age males (N=34) to treatment, consisting of participant-based modeling with self-directed mastery, or control. Self-efficacy was enhanced toward the rappel situation after treatment and the perceived increase was generalized to the area of high-risk activities. State anxiety was significantly reduced toward the treatment situation (i.e., rappel) at posttest, but no parallel change in stress reactivity or self-reported anxiety generalized to the laboratory stressors. This finding was expected, as no changes were noted in self-reported efficacy to accomplish the laboratory challenges. These results support the generalization of self-efficacy to relatively similar situations.
Scott E. Kerick, Seppo E. Iso-Ahola, and Bradley D. Hatfield
The purpose of this study was to investigate the extent to which perceptions of psychological momentum (PM) are associated with affect and whether affective responses accounted for a significant proportion of target shooting performance variance. This purpose was examined within the framework of the multidimensional model of momentum. Precipitating PM events were manipulated by providing false performance feedback to isolate psychological effects on performance. EEG data were obtained during real-time performance, and frontal asymmetry was analyzed to assess the viability of the approach-withdrawal motivational system as an underlying mechanism to explain the PM-performance relationship. Although cognitive perceptions of PM were reliably altered by the feedback in the hypothesized direction, affective responses, frontal asymmetry, and shooting performance did not significantly differ among feedback conditions. Overall, these findings suggest that cognitive PM perceptions may evolve in response to precipitating events independently from affective, electrophysiological, and performance effects in novice participants.
Walter R. Bixby, Thomas W. Spalding, and Bradley D. Hatfield
Electroencephalographic (EEG) and self-report measures of affect were obtained from 27 participants (14 F, 13 M) before, during, and following 30 min of continuous exercise at low and high intensities to determine the respective temporal courses of affective response. Mood was measured via a visual analog mood scale (VAMS), the Positive and Negative Affect Schedules (PANAS-PA and -NA), and EEG hemispheric asymmetry as obtained from three electrode pairs: F4-F3, F8-F7, and P4-P3. Participants reported higher VAMS and lower PANAS-NA scores during low-intensity exercise relative to baseline, and the higher scores were maintained during recovery. In contrast, they reported lower scores on the VAMS during high-intensity exercise relative to baseline that were subsequently elevated during recovery. Also, during high-intensity exercise the PANAS-NA scores were similar to baseline, but they were lower during recovery. Both the VAMS and PANAS-NA scores observed after exercise were similar regardless of intensity. Additionally, participants had higher PANAS-PA and EEG hemispheric asymmetry scores (i.e., F8-F7) during exercise at both intensities relative to baseline, then reported values similar to baseline levels on cessation of work. The magnitude of change from baseline for the PANAS-PA and EEG scores during exercise was similar regardless of exercise intensity.
Bradley D. Hatfield, Calvin M. Lu, and Jo B. Zimmerman
Charles H. Hillman, Kirk I. Erickson, and Bradley D. Hatfield
The past two decades have uncovered the beneficial relation of physical activity and other health behaviors on brain and cognition, with the majority of data emerging from older adult populations. More recently, a similar research thread has emerged in school-aged children, which offers insight into the relation of physical activity to scholastic performance, providing a real-world application of the benefits observed in the laboratory. Technological advances have similarly furthered our understanding of physical activity effects on cognitive and brain health. Given this emerging body of work, this manuscript reviews the basic findings within the field, but more importantly suggests triggers or signals from the emerging literature that will shape the field in the near future. The overall goal of this body of research is to increase cognitive and brain health to promote effective functioning of individuals across the lifespan.
Bradley D. Hatfield, Thomas W. Spalding, Ross J. Apparies, Amy J. Haufler, and D. Laine Santa Maria
Latencies and peak-to-peak amplitudes of pattern-reversal evoked-potential (PREP) components of active and inactive community-dwelling healthy 61- to 77-year-olds were compared with those of active and inactive 18- to 31-year-olds to determine whether long-term physical activity involvement was associated with attenuation of age-related changes in sensory processes. Binocular PREPs were derived for each of 2 check sizes (22 × 15 ft and 41 × 30 ft of visual angle) to provide increasing challenge of spatial resolution. Analyses of the latencies revealed significant effects for age, gender, and check size such that latencies were longer for older than for young participants, men than for women, and small than for larger check sizes. Amplitudes were larger in older adults for the P100-N150 peak-to-peak difference, but physical activity history was not associated with reduction of the observed age-related increases in component latencies and amplitude. As such, physical activity does not appear to attenuate age-related decline in visual sensory processing.
George W. Lawton, Tsung Min Hung, Pekka Saarela, and Bradley D. Hatfield
High levels of athletic performance are frequently attributed to mental states. Evidence for this attribution comes mainly from phenomenological reports of athletes. However, research with elite performers using electrophysiological measures has tracked changes in nervous system activity in real time during performance, which may further understanding of such states. Specific patterns of psychophysiological activity from the cerebral cortex, in the form of event-related slow potentials (SPs), as well as spectral content measured by electroencephalography (EEG), occur in the few seconds of performance (preshot) preparation. We discuss these data. We suggest that the logical structure of research with athletes differs from other psychophysiological research. We emphasize the theoretical mind-body issues and the logical structure of these investigations to suggest directions for future research.