Visual Motion Processing Subserves Faster Visuomotor Reaction in Badminton Players

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INTRODUCTION: Athletes participating in ball or racquet sports have to respond to visual stimuli under critical time pressure. Previous studies used visual contrast stimuli to determine visual perception and visuomotor reaction in athletes and non-athletes however, especially ball and racquet sports are characterized by motion rather than contrast visual cues. Since visual contrast and motion signals are processed in different cortical regions, this study aimed to determine differences in perception and processing of visual motion between athletes and non-athletes.

METHODS: 25 skilled badminton players and 28 age-matched non-athletic controls participated in this study. Using a 64-channel EEG system we investigated visual motion perception/processing in the motion sensitive cortical area MT in response to radial motion of different velocity. In a simple visuomotor reaction task visuomotor transformation in BA6 and BA4 as well as muscular activation (EMG onset) and visuomotor reaction time (VMRT) were investigated. Stimulus- and response-locked potentials were determined to differentiate between perceptual and motor-related processes.

RESULTS: As compared to non-athletes, athletes showed earlier EMG onset times (217 ms vs. 178 ms; p<0.001), accompanied by a faster VMRT (274 ms vs. 243 ms; p<0.001). Furthermore, athletes showed an earlier stimulus-locked peak activation of MT (200 ms vs. 182 ms; p=0.002) and BA6 (161 ms vs. 137 ms; p=0.009). Response-locked peak activation in MT was later in athletes (-7 ms vs. 26 ms; p<0.001) while no group differences were observed in BA6 and BA4. Multiple regression analyses with stimulus-locked and response-locked cortical potentials predicted EMG onset (r=0.83) and VMRT (r=0.77).

CONCLUSION: The athletes' superior visuomotor performance in response to visual motion is primarily related to visual perception and, to a minor degree, to motor-related processes.

ZeitschriftMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Seiten (von - bis)1097-1110
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 09.01.2017

ID: 2980214

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