Sport, time pressure, and cognitive performance

Chia N. Chiu, Chiao Yun Chen, Neil G. Muggleton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Sport participation, fitness, and expertise have been associated with a range of cognitive benefits in a range of populations but both the factors that confer such benefits and the nature of the resulting changes are relatively unclear. Additionally, the interactions between time pressure and cognitive performance for these groups is little studied. Using a flanker task, which measures the ability to selectively process information, and with different time limits for responding, we investigated the differences in performance for participants in (1) an unpredictable, open-skill sport (volleyball), (2) an exercise group engaged in predictable, closed-skill sports (running, swimming), and (3) nonsporting controls. Analysis by means of a drift diffusion analysis of response times was used to characterize the nature of any differences. Volleyball players were more accurate than controls and the exercise group, particularly for shorter time limits for responding, as well as tending to respond more quickly. Drift diffusion model analysis suggested that better performance by the volleyball group was due to factors such as stimulus encoding or motor programming and execution rather than decision making. Trends in the pattern of data seen also suggest less noisy cognitive processing (rather than greater efficiency) and should be further investigated.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProgress in Brain Research
PublisherElsevier B.V.
Number of pages15
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NameProgress in Brain Research
ISSN (Print)0079-6123
ISSN (Electronic)1875-7855


  • Cognition
  • Drift diffusion model
  • Flanker task
  • Sport
  • Time pressure


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