Proactive and Reactive Motor Inhibition in Top Athletes Versus Nonathletes

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid


We examined proactive (early restraint in preparation for stopping) and reactive (late correction to stop ongoing action) motor response inhibition in two groups of participants: professional athletes (n = 28) and nonathletes (n = 25). We recruited the elite athletes from Belgian national taekwondo and fencing teams. We estimated proactive and reactive inhibition with a modified version of the stop-signal task (SST) in which participants inhibited categorizing left/right arrows. The probability of the stop signal was manipulated across blocks of trials by providing probability cues from the background computer screen color (green = 0%, yellow =17%, orange = 25%, red = 33%). Participants performed two sessions of the SST, where proactive inhibition was operationalized with increased go-signal reaction time as a function of increased stop-signal probability and reactive inhibition was indicated by stop-signal reaction time latency. Athletes exhibited higher reactive inhibition performance than nonathletes. In addition, athletes exhibited higher proactive inhibition than nonathletes in Session 1 (but not Session 2) of the SST. As top-level athletes exhibited heightened reactive inhibition and were faster to reach and maintain consistent proactive motor response inhibition, these results confirm an evaluative process that can discriminate elite athleticism through a fine-grained analysis of inhibitory control.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles