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The influence of expertise on brain activation of the action observation network during anticipation of tennis and volleyball serves

Balser, Nils ; Lorey, Britta ; Pilgramm, Sebastian ; Naumann, Tim ; Kindermann, Stefan ; Stark, Rudolf ; Zentgraf, Karen ; Williams, Andrew Mark ; Munzert, Jörn

Originalveröffentlichung: (2014) Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8:568 doi:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00568
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URN: urn:nbn:de:hebis:26-opus-116306

Freie Schlagwörter (Englisch): sports-related anticipation , motor expertise , cerebellum , superior parietal lobe , functional magnetic resonance imaging
Sammlung: Open Access - Publikationsfonds
Universität Justus-Liebig-Universität GieĂźen
Institut: Institut fĂĽr Sportwissenschaft
Fachgebiet: Sportwissenschaft
DDC-Sachgruppe: Sport
Dokumentart: Aufsatz
Sprache: Englisch
Erstellungsjahr: 2014
Publikationsdatum: 06.08.2015
Kurzfassung auf Englisch: In many daily activities, and especially in sport, it is necessary to predict the effects of others´ actions in order to initiate appropriate responses. Recently, researchers have suggested that the action–observation network (AON) including the cerebellum plays an essential role during such anticipation, particularly in sport expert performers. In the present study, we examined the influence of task-specific expertise on the AON by investigating differences between two expert groups trained in different sports while anticipating action effects. Altogether, 15 tennis and 16 volleyball experts anticipated the direction of observed tennis and volleyball serves while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The expert group in each sport acted as novice controls in the other sport with which they had only little experience. When contrasting anticipation in both expertise conditions with the corresponding untrained sport, a stronger activation of AON areas (SPL, SMA), and particularly of cerebellar structures, was observed. Furthermore, the neural activation within the cerebellum and the SPL was linearly correlated with participant´s anticipation performance, irrespective of the specific expertise. For the SPL, this relationship also holds when an expert performs a domain-specific anticipation task. Notably, the stronger activation of the cerebellum as well as of the SMA and the SPL in the expertise conditions suggests that experts rely on their more fine-tuned perceptual-motor representations that have improved during years of training when anticipating the effects of others´ actions in their preferred sport. The association of activation within the SPL and the cerebellum with the task achievement suggests that these areas are the predominant brain sites involved in fast motor predictions. The SPL reflects the processing of domain-specific contextual information and the cerebellum the usage of a predictive internal model to solve the anticipation task.
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