Tag Archives: Mirror Neurons

Learning To Anticipate Your Opponent

via Dan Peterson

Across just about every team sport, young defenders are coached how to read an opponent’s body cues to avoid being caught out of position.  Whether in hockey, basketball, soccer or football, if a player can learn to focus on a consistent center point, like the chest, he can take away the offensive attacker’s element of surprise.  As with most skills, this takes time to master, but new research shows that experience does matter. Watching players develop in practice and games offers a subjective view of their learning curve, but what would put any doubt to rest would be to actually peer inside their brains to monitor their progress.  That’s exactly what …

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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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Learning What Not to Do

via Axon Sports

In the world of sports, learning can take place in a number of ways. For example, a player can learn from listening to a coach, watching a teammate, watching an opponent, trying a number of times until success is reached, etc. A research team at Bristol University conducted a study in which they scanned the brains of participants while they battled an artificial opponent in a computer game. They found that players learned from their own successes, but that they showed no increase in neural activity when their opponent succeeded. Rather, additional brain activity occurred when the opponent failed. These failures created reward signals in the brain as well as learning …

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Deliberate practice and the unconscious brain

via Axon Sports

The subject of deliberate practice has been discussed a lot here recently, and K Anders Ericssson’s “10,000 hour rule” has become a popular cultural touchstone because of Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers. But an intriguing recent study by neuroscientists at Northwestern suggests that it might be possible to make the same gains with less actual, working practice time, by supplementing that practice with passive observation while the brain’s subconscious systems does the rest of the learning. The researchers had all of the subjects practice a task 360 times per day for six days, which in this case was an auditory discrimination task where the subjects had to determine whether two similar sounds …

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