Measurement of Cognitive Functions in Experts and Elite‐Athletes: A Meta‐Analytic Review

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An extraordinary physiological capacity combined with remarkable motor control, perception, and cognitive functioning is crucial for high‐performance in sports. Tests that assess the physical abilities are already well established. Moreover, a growing area of research evolved in the recent past that is particularly concerned with the basic cognitive functions by means of neuro‐cognitive tests in experts and elite‐athletes. The aim of this meta‐analysis (k = 19) is to quantify differences among experts and non‐experts as well as elite‐athletes and non‐elite athletes. In addition, it aims to assemble and compare previous research and analyze possible differences in cognitive functions depending on age, skill level and used cognitive tasks. Overall, the mean effect size was small‐to‐medium (r = .22), indicating superior cognitive functions in experts and elite‐athletes. The factor of skill definition significantly differentiates the cognition‐expertise relationship. In contrast, differences in age groups and cognitive areas appeared but were not significant. Future research should prefer the elite rather than the expert definition and distinguish between high‐performance and amateur athletes. Furthermore, the findings suggest that it can be beneficial for coaches and sport clubs to integrate cognitive tests as an additional tool for scouting and for optimizing the athletic development of their players.
Original languageGerman
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Pages (from-to)1-39
Number of pages39
ISSN1099-0720
StatePublished - 25.01.2019

ID: 3587800

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