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Evidence for Performance & Recovery

Our exercises are designed by neuroscientists to isolate and challenge a muscle group we neglect… the brain. We relentlessly research and develop our understanding of the brain. Dozens of studies have been completed on the power of brain training and neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to rewire itself. This has far-reaching implications and possibilities from education to athletics to medicine.

 
 

Athletic Brain Training Should Learn From the Coaches

Athletic brain and vision training must change its approach and learn from the coaches. Coaches use simulations to integrate multiple components of the perception-cognition-action continuum. Similarly, athletic brain and vision training must use simulations to integrate more of the perception-cognition-action continuum rather than train isolated pieces of this continuum. When components of the continuum are integrated in simulation training, the brain is given the opportunity to fully process the important connections between perception-cognition and action. This is how they process on game day and this is how they should prepare for game day.

The scientific research supports this approach. The few studies that show transfer from a training exercise to improvement on a new task all use simulation training. The studies listed below are all published in top peer-reviewed journals. These studies show that specific First-Person Shooter (FPS) video games improve new abilities across the cognitive-perceptual portion of the continuum. Importantly, FPS video games provide a realistic simulation of the perception-cognition-action continuum by putting the player in the first person perspective of the video game character. The Neurotrainer technology was deliberately invented after these ground-breaking studies were published. Our approach was to design a configuration of exercises that distill down the important components of FPS video games. Our research shows that our technology created even larger gains compared to those of a FPS video game.

 

Athletics Evidence

How brain functions relate to sports performance

PARIETAL LOBE FUNCTIONS
Focus and Split Attention

Attention determines what and how much we perceive: we can look at something and not really see it when unfocused. We also miss things happening away from where we look (Split Attention). Attention becomes exponentially more important when multitasking (e.g., catching a ball, looking at an opponent and tracking a teammate for a possible play).

Multiple Object Tracking (M.O.T.) and Visual Search

Tracking and finding players/balls is critical for most sports. As attention improves, the ability to track all items with attention alone replaces the need for (time-consuming) visual search strategies. This equates to greater situational awareness.

OCCIPITAL LOBE & VISUAL CORTEX FUNCTIONS
Motion Perception

Sports require quick and accurate motion perception of objects (players/balls) as a fundamental component of athletic performance.

Field of View

Peripheral vision makes up 97% of our visual field. Athletes must effectively see across a very large visual field.

PRE-FRONTAL CORTEX FUNCTIONS
Decision Making

Quick, accurate choices are perhaps the hallmark ability of a good athlete.

Multi-tasking

Also called “coordination”, this is the ability to co-process actions, thoughts and sight.

Distraction Control

Every other function listed above requires mental resources. It is important not to waste our limited resources on distractions.

Baseball

This study examined perceptual learning and task demands similar to NeuroTrainer. Results showed improved vision, decreased strike-outs, and more runs. Deveau, J., Ozer, D., & Seitz, A. (2014). Improved vision and on-field performance in baseball through perceptual learning., Current Biology 24(4): R146-147.

Soccer

Skilled soccer players anticipate opponent movements and actions, and are superior to novices in pattern recall and strategic awareness in team sports. Williams, M.A. (2000). Perceptual skill in soccer: implications for talent identification and development. Journal of Sports Sciences, 18(9), 737–750

Elite soccer players are defined by their ability to process relevant perceptual cues and enhanced search strategies. Mann, D.T., Williams, A.M., Ward, P., & Janelle, C.M. (2007). Perceptual-cognitive expertise in sport: A meta-analysis. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 29(4), 457–478.

Playing experience is not enough to be a great athlete. Perceptual/cognitive skills matter. Vaeyens, R., Lenoir, M., Williams, A.M., Mazyn, L., & Philippaerts, R.M. (2007). The effects of task constraints on visual search behavior and decision-making skill in youth soccer players. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 29(2), 147–169.

Willams, M.A., Hodges, N.J., North, J.S., Barton, G. (2006). Perceiving patterns of play in dynamic sport tasks: investigating the essential information underlying skilled performance. Perception, 35(3), 317-32.

Hockey

Evidence suggests an athlete’s sports-related perceptual-cognitive expertise is a crucial element of top-level competitive sports. Faubert, J. (2013). Professional Athletes have extraordinary skills for rapidly learning complex and neutral dynamic visual scenes. Scientific Reports, 3: 1154

Mental juggling during chaotic moments

Multi-tasking is fundamental to athletic performance. In fact, professional athletes have superior multi-tasking abilities. The NeuroTrainer system demands multi-tasking on several neurocognitive tasks which challenge the prefrontal cortex to plan and organize cognitive and perceptual processes in order to be fast and efficient. Nyquist, J., Lappin, J., Zhang, R. & Tadin, D. (2016). Perceptual training yields rapid improvements in visually impaired youth. Scientific Reports 6, 37431.

Sports Vision

NHL player Justin Florek completed 4 weeks of the NeuroTrainer program and became 44% quicker in his ability to find a target in a cluttered environment. These studies corroborate this benefit.

Nyquist, J., Lappin, J., Zhang, R. & Tadin, D. (2016). Perceptual training yields rapid improvements in visually impaired youth. Scientific Reports 6, 37431.

Parsons, B., Magill, T., Boucher, A., Zogbo, K., Scheffer, O., Beauregard, M., & Faubert, J. (2016). Enhancing cognitive function using perceptual-cognitive training. Clinical EEG and Neuroscience, 47(1), 37-47.

Fast-paced attention (brain blinks)

Much as your eye blinks, so does your brain. It is called an attentional blink by scientists. This study improved “brain blinks” using FPS video games, which have features in common with NeuroTrainer. Green, S. & Bavelier, D. (2003). Action video game modifies visual selective attention. Nature, 423, 534-537.

Focus and distraction control

NeuroTrainer exercises attentional capacity and distraction control. These studies shows improvements from training tasks that use a subset of the NeuroTrainer technology.

Green, S. & Bavelier, D. (2003). Action video game modifies visual selective attention. Nature, 423, 534-537.

Green, S. & Bavelier, D. (2006). Effect of Action video games on the spatial distribution of attention. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 32(6), 534-531465-1478.

Parsons, B., Magill, T., Boucher, A., Zogbo, K., Scheffer, O., Beauregard, M., & Faubert, J. (2016). Enhancing cognitive function using perceptual-cognitive training. Clinical EEG and Neuroscience, 47(1), 37-47.

Situational awareness

Peripheral vision makes up 97% of our visual field. NeuroTrainer trains the brain to take the blinders off and make our “Spotlight” of Attention become a “Floodlight”. Several studies below show effects from training with FPS video games, which use components of NeuroTrainer.

Nyquist, J., Lappin, J., Zhang, R. & Tadin, D. (2016). Perceptual training yields rapid improvements in visually impaired youth. Scientific Reports 6, 37431.

Green, C.S., and Bavelier, D. (2007). Action-video-game experience alters the spatial resolution of vision. Psychol Sci 18, 88-94.

Green, S. & Bavelier, D. (2006). Action video games on the spatial distribution of attention. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 32(6), 534-531465-1478.

Green, S. & Bavelier, D. (2003). Action video game modifies visual selective attention. Nature, 423, 534-537.

Crundall, D., & Underwood, G. (1998). Effects of experience and processing demands on visual information acquisition in drivers. Ergonomics 41:448–458.

Quicker decisions, better decisions

Elite athletes are highly practiced, which frees up mental resources for better anticipation and decision making during game play. But even the best players make errors during game play because the mental demands become too much. The solution is to make the mental processes highly practiced and automated as well. A recent study with Division I Hockey players showed NeuroTrainer improved speeded decision making. Eight players from the Northern Michigan University Hockey Team trained with NeuroTrainer three times a week for 2 weeks. A before and after measurement of speeded decision making showed an average improvement of 15 milliseconds.

Haywood, K., (1984). Use of the image-retina and eye-head movement visual systems during coincidence, anticipation, performance. Journal of Sports Sciences, 2(2), 139 – 144.37431.

Hodges, N.J., Smeeton, N.J., Ward, P., Williams, A.M., (2005). The relative effectiveness of various instructional approaches in developing anticipatory skill. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 11 (2), 98 – 110.

Mori, S., Ohtani, Y., Imanaka, K. (2002). Reaction times and anticipatory skills of karate athletes. Human Movement Science, 21 (2), 213 – 230.

Anticipation

Elite athletes need less anticipatory time, which increases time available to make decisive decisions.

Haywood, K., (1984). Use of the image-retina and eye-head movement visual systems during coincidence, anticipation, performance. Journal of Sports Sciences, 2(2),139 – 144.

Hodges, N.J., Smeeton, N.J., Ward, P., Williams, A.M. (2005). The relative effectiveness of various instructional approaches in developing anticipatory skill. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 11 (2), 98 – 110.

Mori, S., Ohtani, Y., Imanaka, K. (2002). Reaction times and anticipatory skills of karate athletes. Human Movement Science, 21 (2), 213 – 230.

Perceptual-cognitive abilities

Perceptual-cognitive abilities provide an athletic edge. Garland, D.J., & Barry, J.R. (1990). Sport expertise: The cognitive advantage. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 70(3), 1299–1314.

The difference between elite and sub-elite athletes is less physiological and more mental. Ripoll, H. (1991). The understanding-acting process in sport: The relationship between semantic and sensorimotor visual function. International Journal of Sport Psychology,22, 221-243.

Mann, D.T., Williams, A.M., Ward, P., Janelle, C.M. (2007). Perceptual-cognitive expertise in sport: a meta-analysis. Journal of Sport Exercise Psychology, 29(4), 457-78.

Perception and Action Connection

Perception and action are crucial for elite sports. Williams, M.A., Davids, K., & Williams, J. (Eds.). (1999). Visual perception and action in sport. London: Routledge.

“See the Stitches on the Ball”

Perception is much more than vision. Perception is where attention and vision meet. There is now high-quality evidence that a task like NeuroTrainer is capable of altering a range of visual skills.

Green, S. & Bavelier, D. (2003). Action video game modifies visual selective attention. Nature, 423, 534-537.

Faubert, J. (2013). Professional Athletes have extraordinary skills for rapidly learning complex and neutral dynamic visual scenes. Scientific Reports, 3: 1154.

Deveau, J., Ozer, D., & Seitz, A. (2014). Improved vision and on-field performance in baseball through perceptual learning., Current Biology 24(4): R146-147.

Fiorentini, A. & Berardi, N. Perceptual learning specific for orientation and spatial frequency. Nature 287, 43–44 (1980).

Poggio, T., Fahle, M. & Edelman, S. Fast perceptual learning in visual hyperacuity. Science 256, 1018–1021 (1992).

Ahissar, M. & Hochstein, S. The spread of attention and learning in feature search: effects of target distribution and task difficulty. Vision Res. 40, 1349–1364 (2000).

The Science of NeuroTrainer’s Task

A key component of NeuroTrainer is multiple object tracking (MOT). MOT is an extremely effective way to exercise many components of the SEE-THINK-ACT continuum. This task requires users to track several independently moving targets while ignoring distractor objects. This task emulates the demands placed on vision, perception and attention during athletic game play. As you can see below, this task provides powerful activation of various brain regions. This image is from an fMRI study which demonstrates increased neural activity in both the parietal lobe (the crown of the head) and the occipital lobe / visual cortex (the back of the head) during an MOT task.

Howe, P., Horowitz, T., Morocz, I., Wolfe, J., Livingstone, M. (2009). Using fMRI to distinguish components of the multiple object tracking task Journal of Vision. 2009;9(4):10. doi:10.1167/9.4.10

Jovicich, J. Peters, R. J. Koch, C. Braun, J. Chang, L. Ernst, T. (2001). Brain areas specific for attentional load in a motion-tracking task. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 13, 1048–1058.

 

Vision Evidence

Visual Functioning

Vision can be impaired for many reasons, but the brain has the ability to improve visual functioning regardless of many of these causes. Our published training study shows improvements in the functions that drive vision. These functions include the ability to find what we are looking for, wake up our dormant peripheral vision, detect motion better, and use strategies that more effectively process visual information. Our published study shows rapid improvements in only 3 weeks!

Nyquist, J., Lappin, J., Zhang, R. & Tadin, D. (2016). Perceptual training yields rapid improvements in visually impaired youth. Scientific Reports 6, 37431

The brain’s role in vision

Perception is much more than vision. Perception is where attention and vision meet. There is now high-quality evidence that a task like NeuroTrainer is capable of altering a range of visual skills.

Green, S. & Bavelier, D. (2003). Action video game modifies visual selective attention. Nature, 423, 534-537.

Fiorentini, A. & Berardi, N. Perceptual learning specific for orientation and spatial frequency. Nature 287, 43–44 (1980).

Poggio, T., Fahle, M. & Edelman, S. Fast perceptual learning in visual hyperacuity. Science 256, 1018–1021 (1992).

Ahissar, M. & Hochstein, S The spread of attention and learning in feature search: effects of target distribution and task difficulty. Vision Res. 40, 1349–1364 (2000).

 

General Brain Training Evidence

Fast Attention

Much as your eye blinks, so does your brain. It is called an attentional blink by scientists. This study improved “brain blinks” using FPS video games, which have features in common with NeuroTrainer.

Green, S. & Bavelier, D. (2003). Action video game modifies visual selective attention. Nature, 423, 534-537.

Focus and distraction control

NeuroTrainer exercises attentional capacity and distraction control. These studies shows improvements from training tasks that use a subset of the NeuroTrainer technology.

Green, S. & Bavelier, D. (2003). Action video game modifies visual selective attention. Nature, 423, 534-537.

Green, S. & Bavelier, D. (2006). Effect of Action video games on the spatial distribution of attention. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 32(6), 534-531465-1478.

Parsons, B., Magill, T., Boucher, A., Zogbo, K., Scheffer, O., Beauregard, M., & Faubert, J. (2016). Enhancing cognitive function using perceptual-cognitive training. Clinical EEG and Neuroscience, 47(1), 37-47.

Situational awareness

Peripheral vision makes up 97% of our visual Oield. NeuroTrainer trains the brain to take the blinders off and make or “Spotlight” of Attention become a “Floodlight”. Several studies below show effects from training with FPS video games, which use components of NeuroTrainer.

Nyquist, J., Lappin, J., Zhang, R. & Tadin, D. (2016). Perceptual training yields rapid improvements in visually impaired youth. Scientific Reports 6, 37431.

Green, C.S., and Bavelier, D. (2007). Action-video-game experience alters the spatial resolution of vision. Psychol Sci 18, 88-94.

Green, S. & Bavelier, D. (2006). Effect of Action video games on the spatial distribution of attention. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 32(6), 534-531465-1478.

Green, S. & Bavelier, D. (2003). Action video game modifies visual selective attention. Nature, 423, 534-537.

Crundall, D., & Underwood, G. (1998). Effects of experience and processing demands on visual information acquisition in drivers. Ergonomics 41:448–458.

Quicker Decisions. Better Decisions

Practice frees up mental resources for better anticipation and speeded decision making. Practice of mental processes helps as well.

Haywood, K., (1984). Use of the imageretina and eye-head movement visual systems during coincidence, anticipation, performance. Journal of Sports Sciences, 2(2), 139 – 144.

Hodges, N.J., Smeeton, N.J., Ward, P., Williams, A.M., (2005). The relative effectiveness of various instructional approaches in developing anticipatory skill. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 11 (2), 98 – 110.

Mori, S., Ohtani, Y., Imanaka, K. (2002). Reaction times and anticipatory skills of karate athletes. Human Movement Science, 21 (2), 213 – 230.

Multi-tasking

Multi-tasking is fundamental to our daily life. The Neurotrainer system demands multi-tasking on several neurocognitive tasks which challenge the prefrontal cortex to plan and organize cognitive and perceptual processes in order to be fast and efficient.

Nyquist, J., Lappin, J., Zhang, R. & Tadin, D. (2016). Perceptual training yields rapid improvements in visually impaired youth. Scientific Reports 6, 37431.

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