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Jeremy W. Noble, Janice J. Eng and Lara A. Boyd

This study examined the effect of visual feedback and force level on the neural mechanisms responsible for the performance of a motor task. We used a voxelwise fMRI approach to determine the effect of visual feedback (with and without) during a grip force task at 35% and 70% of maximum voluntary contraction. Two areas (contralateral rostral premotor cortex and putamen) displayed an interaction between force and feedback conditions. When the main effect of feedback condition was analyzed, higher activation when visual feedback was available was found in 22 of the 24 active brain areas, while the two other regions (contralateral lingual gyrus and ipsilateral precuneus) showed greater levels of activity when no visual feedback was available. The results suggest that there is a potentially confounding influence of visual feedback on brain activation during a motor task, and for some regions, this is dependent on the level of force applied.

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Bettina Brendel, Michael Erb, Axel Riecker, Wolfgang Grodd, Hermann Ackermann and Wolfram Ziegler

The present study combines functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and reaction time (RT) measurements to further elucidate the influence of syllable frequency and complexity on speech motor control processes, i.e., overt reading of pseudowords. Tying in with a recent fMRI-study of our group we focused on the concept of a mental syllabary housing syllable sized ready-made motor plans for high- (HF), but not low-frequency (LF) syllables. The RT-analysis disclosed a frequency effect weakened by a simultaneous complexity effect for HF-syllables. In contrast, the fMRI data revealed no effect of syllable frequency, but point to an impact of syllable structure: Compared with CV-items, syllables with a complex onset (CCV) yielded higher hemodynamic activation in motor “execution” areas (left sensorimotor cortex, right inferior cerebellum), which is at least partially compatible with our previous study. We discuss the role of the syllable in speech motor control.

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Michael Gay and Semyon Slobounov

influenced researchers’ understanding of the brain–behavior interaction during cognition. Despite its limited availability and high cost, fMRI has truly expanded our depth of knowledge over the past decade. With fMRI and advanced post-processing, we can now understand a pattern of normative brain metabolic

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Daniel T. Bishop, Michael J. Wright, Robin C. Jackson and Bruce Abernethy

The aim of this study was to examine the neural bases for perceptual-cognitive superiority in a soccer anticipation task using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Thirty-nine participants lay in an MRI scanner while performing a video-based task in which they predicted an oncoming opponent’s movements. Video clips were occluded at four time points, and participants were grouped according to in-task performance. Early occlusion reduced prediction accuracy significantly for all participants, as did the opponent’s execution of a deceptive maneuver; however, high-skill participants were significantly more accurate than their low-skill counterparts under deceptive conditions. This perceptual-cognitive superiority was associated with greater activation of cortical and subcortical structures involved in executive function and oculomotor control. The contributions of the present findings to an existing neural model of anticipation in sport are highlighted.

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Michael D. Ferrell, Robert L. Beach, Nikolaus M. Szeverenyi, Marlyn Krch and Bo Fernhall

Performance at one's highest personal level is often accompanied by a palpable, yet enigmatic sensation that many athletes refer to as the zone. Competitive athletes regularly acknowledge that their top performances are dependent on achieving a zone state of performance. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technologies were used in observing differing patterns of neural activation that occur among athletes during a hypnotically recalled zone-state performance of eight accomplished, competitive right-handed archers. These data were compared to each participant's respective fMRI data of a hypnotically assisted recall of a normal performance. Analysis of composite group data revealed significant (p = 0.05) neural activation of zone performance (ZP) over normal performance (NP), suggesting that performance in a zone state involves identifiable characteristics of neural processing. Perhaps this investigation might stimulate additional, more creative research in identifying a psychophysiological indicator of the zone phenomenon that would provide adequate justification for a training regimen providing a more reliable and sustained zone performance.

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Semyon Slobounov, Tao Wu and Mark Hallett

Human upright posture is a product of a complex dynamic system that relies on integration of input from multimodal sensory sources. Extensive research has explored the role of visual, vestibular, and somatosensory systems in the control of upright posture. However, the role of higher cognitive function in a participant’s assessment of postural stability has been less studied. In previous research, we showed specific neural activation patterns in EEG associated with recognition of unstable postures in young healthy participants. Similar EEG patterns have been recently observed in regulation of posture equilibrium in dynamic stances. This article evaluates participants’ postural stability in dynamic stances and neural activation patterns underlying visual recognition of unstable postures using event-related functional MRI (fMRI). Our results show that the “stable” participants were successful in recognition of unstable postures of a computer-animated body model and experienced egocentric motion. Successful recognition of unstable postures in these participants induces activation of distinct areas of the brain including bilateral parietal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, and bilateral cerebellum. In addition, significant activation is observed in basal ganglia (caudate nucleus and putamen) but only during perception of animated postures. Our findings suggest the existence of modality-specific distributed activation of brain areas responsible for detection of postural instability.

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Jay P. Mehta, Matthew D. Verber, Jon A. Wieser, Brian D. Schmit and Sheila M. Schindler-Ivens

We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to record human brain activity during slow (30 RPM), fast (60 RPM), passive (30 RPM), and variable rate pedaling. Ten healthy adults participated. After identifying regions of interest, the intensity and volume of brain activation in each region was calculated and compared across conditions (p < .05). Results showed that the primary sensory and motor cortices (S1, M1), supplementary motor area (SMA), and cerebellum (Cb) were active during pedaling. The intensity of activity in these areas increased with increasing pedaling rate and complexity. The Cb was the only brain region that showed significantly lower activity during passive as compared with active pedaling. We conclude that M1, S1, SMA, and Cb have a role in modifying continuous, bilateral, multijoint lower extremity movements. Much of this brain activity may be driven by sensory signals from the moving limbs.

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Louisa D. Raisbeck, Jed A. Diekfuss, Dustin R. Grooms and Randy Schmitz

focus and motor skill may allow for more precise rehabilitation guidelines based on specific neural mechanisms. To date this has been done primarily using fine motor movements (key pressing tasks) due to the logistics of performing a gross motor movement using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI

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Leonard Zaichkowsky

While clinical psychology has embraced the importance of psychophysiology and neuroscience when considering the client condition, the field of sport psychology has been slower to consider the potential importance of this area for athletic clientele. Therefore, this special issue of the Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology was conceptualized and constructed to describe the current state of psychophysiological and neuroscience research and illustrate how clinical sport psychologists may, in the future, use technologies such as biofeedback/neurofeedback and physiological measurement (EMG, EEG, skin temperature, EDR, HR, HRV, respiration, and hormonal responses) with high-level athletes from a variety of sports for both performance enhancement and diagnosis and management of head injury. As Guest Editor of this unique special issue, I have written the present introduction to highlight the issue’s important mission. This introductory paper sets the stage for five informative and cutting-edge articles by leading professionals. In all, the articles cover an array of topics on psychophysiology and neuroscience in sport, such as (a) the theoretical underpinnings of biofeedback/neurofeedback, (b) the empirical application of such approaches, (c) the current state of efficacy with regard to this newer line of research and practice, and (d) the use of fMRI in understanding psychological processes in sport. I hope that this timely special issue provokes many additional questions and advanced research in our collective pursuit to assist athletes.

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Brice T. Cleland and Sheila Schindler-Ivens

lower limb movement. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine brain activation during pedaling in people with and without stroke ( Promjunyakul, Schmit, & Schindler-Ivens, 2015 ). People with stroke displayed reduced pedaling-related brain activation volume compared with age