Monthly Archives: February 2012

A Quarterback’s Thinking, Fast And Slow

via Axon Sports

Your favorite NFL team breaks the huddle for the first time in 2012 and your shiny, new first-round draft pick quarterback comes to the line.  As he peers out over the defense, everyone, from the general manager to the fans, is confident they chose the right player in the NFL draft because of his dead-on answer to this question, “A train travels 20 feet in one-fifth of a second.  At this same speed, how many feet will it travel in 3 seconds?”  Although he struggled with the next question, “What is the ninth month of the year?”, his overall Wonderlic cognitive ability test came back with an above average score, giving …

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Mirror Neurons Help Explain Why Baseball Hitting Is Contagious

via Axon Sports

One of baseball’s well worn axioms is that “hitting is contagious.”  Once a few batters get on base, those hitting behind them rally at the plate.  In fact, MLB batting averages are roughly 50%–70% higher for a batter following hits by the previous two batters as compared to outs made by the previous two batters.  While baseball theorists have explanations for this such as rattled pitchers or motivated hitters, recent cognitive science research points to a unique learning system in our brains known as mirror neurons. When a young player picks up a bat for the first time, they begin a long process of education that relies heavily on imitation.  Watching …

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An Athlete’s Perception Skill Transfers To The Real World

via Axon Sports

Boy Scouts just got some competition.  Now, when little, old ladies need to cross a busy street, they should find a well-trained athlete to do the job, according to University of Illinois researchers. In a test of skill transfer, Laura Chaddock, a researcher at Illinois’ Human Perception and Performance lab, and her team pushed a bunch of college students out into busy traffic to see how well they could navigate the oncoming cars… well, sort of. With the help of a virtual 3D environment called the CAVE, volunteer pedestrians can step into a simulated city street scene, seeing traffic whiz by on three surrounding screens, while walking on a synchronized treadmill. …

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