Science at the Olympics: Can Neuroscience Provide a Mental Edge?

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  • Author(s): Miller, Greg
  • Source:
    Science. 8/1/2008, Vol. 321 Issue 5889, p626-627. 2p. 1 Color Photograph.
  • Additional Information
    • Subject Terms:
    • Subject Terms:
    • Abstract:
      The article reports on the research conducted on the significance of functional magnetic resonance imaging to athletes in the U.S. Hap Davis and colleagues monitor the brain activity of 11 swimmers who had failed to make the 2004 Canadian Olympic team. They compared the brain activity elicited by two video clips, one of the swimmers who failed the race and a control clip featuring a different swimmer. When athletes watched their own poor performance, it sparked activity in the emotional centers in the brain similar to that of depression. They found that the reduced activity in regions of the cerebral cortex essential for planning movements. They concluded that the negative emotions stirred up by relieving the defeat may affect its performance.