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Special Issue on Psychophysiology and Neuroscience in Sport: Final Thoughts

Frank L. Gardner

Consistent with the Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology’s mission, the current special issue on psychophysiology and neuroscience in sport has brought together a variety of timely papers exploring the relationship between physiological processes and both sport performance and personal well-being. These final thoughts observe patterns noted among the papers in this issue, highlight future research directions, and most importantly, clarify where this emerging technology and its associated procedures currently stand in the evidence-based practice of clinical sport psychology.

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Psychophysiology and Neuroscience in Sport: Introduction to the Special Issue

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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Communicating the Value of Fan Identity in the Sport Industry: Commentary on Consumer Neuroscience Possible Research Ideas

Ricardo Cayolla

neuroscience techniques, the study of fans exposed to different stimuli and subsequent decision making can contribute to a better neural understanding ( Baron et al., 2017 ; Stanton et al., 2017 ). The cognizance that certain brain regions can be activated due to cognitive processes, through the reverse

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Thoughts About the Negative Results of Clinical Trials in Rehabilitation Medicine

Carolee Winstein

( Adkins, Schallert, & Goldstein, 2009 ; Corbett, Jeffers, Nguemeni, Gomez-Smith, & Livingston-Thomas, 2015 ). Nonpharmacologic Stroke Recovery Trials—Translational Hurdles? The revolution in neuroscience that unleashed the potential of brain plasticity opened new avenues for recovery-supportive therapies

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The Effect of Pain Neuroscience Education on Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation Students’ Knowledge, Attitudes, and Clinical Recommendations Toward Athletes With Chronic Pain

Neil Maguire, Paul Chesterton, and Cormac Ryan

preregistration pain education methods are evaluated. A particular model of pain education is pain neuroscience education (PNE). The PNE has primarily been used as an intervention for patients with chronic pain. PNE uses current understanding of neuroscience to help reconceptualize the experience of pain. The aim

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Important Movement Concepts: Clinical Versus Neuroscience Perspectives

Julie Vaughan-Graham, Kara Patterson, Karl Zabjek, and Cheryl A. Cott

( Clark et al., 2010 ; Levin et al., 2016 ). In the current neuroscience literature, motor recovery at the kinematic level is defined as “the reappearance of typical movement patterns and sequences used before stroke for performance of a task,” while compensation is defined as “the use of additional or

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Kinesiology and Mental Health: The Promise of Exercise Neuroscience Research for Diseases and Disorders of the Brain

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.

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Exploring the Neurophysiological Effects of Self-Controlled Practice in Motor Skill Learning

Amber M. Leiker, Anupriya Pathania, Matthew W. Miller, and Keith R. Lohse

of Neuroscience, 19 ( 10 ), 3723 – 3730 . PubMed ID: 10234004 doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.19-10-03723.1999 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.19-10-03723.1999 Carter , M.J. , Carlsen , A.N. , & Ste-Marie , D.M. ( 2014 ). Self-controlled feedback is effective if it is based on the learner’s performance: A

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Repeated Use of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Over the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Before Training Changes Visual Search and Improves Decision-Making Response Time in Soccer Athletes

Leonardo S. Fortes, Maicon R. Albuquerque, Heloiana K.C. Faro, Dalton de Lima-Júnior, Maria E.C. Ferreira, and Sebastião S. Almeida

current stimulation over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex improves inhibitory control and endurance performance in healthy individuals . Neuroscience, 419, 34 – 45 . 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2019.08.052 Antal , A. , Nitsche , M.A. , Kincses

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The (Possibly Negative) Effects of Physical Activity on Executive Functions: Implications of the Changing Metabolic Costs of Brain Development

Steven J. Howard, Caylee J. Cook, Rihlat Said-Mohamed, Shane A. Norris, and Catherine E. Draper


An area of growth in physical activity research has involved investigating effects of physical activity on children’s executive functions. Many of these efforts seek to increase the energy expenditure of young children as a healthy and low-cost way to affect physical, health, and cognitive outcomes.


We review theory and research from neuroscience and evolutionary biology, which suggest that interventions seeking to increase the energy expenditure of young children must also consider the energetic trade-offs that occur to accommodate changing metabolic costs of brain development.


According to Life History Theory, and supported by recent evidence, the high relative energy-cost of early brain development requires that other energy-demanding functions of development (ie, physical growth, activity) be curtailed. This is important for interventions seeking to dramatically increase the energy expenditure of young children who have little excess energy available, with potentially negative cognitive consequences. Less energy-demanding physical activities, in contrast, may yield psychosocial and cognitive benefits while not overburdening an underweight child’s already scarce energy supply.


While further research is required to establish the extent to which increases in energy-demanding physical activities may compromise or displace energy available for brain development, we argue that action cannot await these findings.