Neural correlates of fast stimulus discrimination and response selection in top-level fencers

Francesco Di Russo, Francesco Taddei, Teresa Apnile, Donatella Spinelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

109 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Flexible adaptation of behaviour is highly required in some sports, such as fencing. In particular, stimulus discrimination and motor response selection and inhibition processes are crucial. We investigated the neural mechanisms responsible for fencers' fast and flexible behaviour recording event-related potentials (ERPs) in discriminative reaction task (DRT, Go/No-go task) and simple reaction task (SRT) to visual stimuli. In the DRT, in addition to faster RTs measured in fencers with respect to control subjects, three main electrophysiological differences were found. First, attentional modulation of the visual processing taking place in the occipital lobes and reaching a peak at 170 ms was enhanced in the athletes group. Second, the activity in the posterior cingulate gyrus, associated with the stimulus discrimination stage, started earlier in fencers than controls (150 ms versus 200 ms) and the peak had larger amplitude. Third, the activity at the level of the prefrontal cortex (time range: 250-350 ms), associated with response selection stage and particularly with motor inhibition process, was stronger in fencers. No differences between athletes and controls were found in the SRT for both ERPs and RTs. Concluding, the fencers' ability to cope to the opponent feint switching quickly from an intended action to a new more appropriate action is likely due to a faster stimulus discrimination facilitated by higher attention and by stronger inhibition activity in prefrontal cortex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-118
Number of pages6
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Volume408
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 13 2006

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Prefrontal Cortex
Evoked Potentials
Athletes
Occipital Lobe
Gyrus Cinguli
Sports

Keywords

  • Athletes
  • ERPs
  • Go/No-go
  • Sport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Neural correlates of fast stimulus discrimination and response selection in top-level fencers. / Di Russo, Francesco; Taddei, Francesco; Apnile, Teresa; Spinelli, Donatella.

In: Neuroscience Letters, Vol. 408, No. 2, 13.11.2006, p. 113-118.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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