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Neurocognitive tools for enhancement of the focused attention related to athletic performance in shooters

: Liu, Y.S.; Hou, X.Y.; Sourina, O.; Shah, E.; Chua, J.; Ivanov, K.; Liddon, J.; Wang, L.P.


International journal of psychophysiology 108 (2016), S.26
ISSN: 0167-8760
ISSN: 1872-7697
World Congress of Psychophysiology (IOP) <18, 2016, Havana>
Fraunhofer IDM@NTU ()

The use of biofeedback tools has been well documented in high performance sport to enable elite athletes to learn to induce and control psychological and physiological states that prepare them for optimum performance. Electroencephalogram (EEG) signal patterns, a form of biofeedback, differ with level of expertise in shooting due to the level of focused attention and posture exhibited by variously skilled shooters. This project studies how to optimize focused attention in expert rifle shooters, with the use of neurocognitive tools, to enhance shooting performance. The specific aims of this study are to (i) develop neurocognitive tools to train focused attention in shooters, (ii) correlate EEG data with shooting performance (i.e. “good” shot vs. “bad” shot), pre and post neurofeedback training and (iii) propose strategies for shooters to increase and maintain their level of focused attention during training and competition. We developed Electroencephalogram (EEG) based tools that allow recognizing mental workload of shooters during the task performance. The mental workload is defined as mental efforts needed to perform the task. In our preliminary study, a total of 6 shooters took part in the experiment, 3 male and 3 female. 3 were pistol shooters and 3 were rifle shooters – all participants used their own equipment which they were accustomed to and were familiar with the range and surroundings. During the experiment, participants’ real-time brain activity was recorded via the Emotiv Epoc EEG device, with the pre-shot phase of each of the 40 shots to be analyzed against the shooting performance. The EEG data were processed using 4 sec sliding window. The preliminary analyses have shown negative correlation of mental workload calculated right before the shot with shooting performance in the experienced shooters, and positive correlation in the novice shooters. This confirms hypotheses that experience shooters have better shots with lower mental workload that may also involve the optimal posture. It was found that alpha power is positively correlated with shooting performance. This initially confirms the hypotheses that alpha-based neurofeedback training can be used to train focused attention in shooters.