Web edition: January 31, 2013
Print edition: February 23, 2013; Vol.183 #4 (p. 18)
Humongous hamstrings, bulging biceps and dangerous delts are obvious attributes of professional athletes. But the brain might be the most important asset on the field, a new study suggests.
Pro athletes are better at interpreting abstract moving scenes than are average people, reports Jocelyn Faubert of the University of Montreal. In his study, 102 professional soccer, rugby and hockey players completed a difficult perception task. To perform well, participants had to distribute their attention among multiple targets, ignore distractions, correctly perceive depth and follow lightning-fast dots on a computer screen.The professional athletes outperformed both high-level college athletes and nonathletes, Faubert writes online January 31 in Scientific Reports. He does not know whether these superior perceptual skills are innate or learned over years of practicing the sport.
J. Faubert. Professional athletes have extraordinary skills for rapidly learning complex and neutral dynamic visual scenes. Scientific Reports. Published online January 31, 2013. doi: 10.1038/srep01154. Available online: [Go to]
N. Bascom. Brainy ballplayers. Science News. Vol. 181, January 14, 2012, p. 22. Available online: [Go to]