For the first time, this study demonstrated that perceptual-cognitive training can provide far transfer to athletic performance in competitive play. Specifically it revealed that NeuroTracker training improved the passing decision-making accuracy of soccer players.
In a year-long case study with one elderly person with memory problems, NeuroTracker training and memory training interventions were used to investigate if long term benefits could be found. Results showed improvements in memory assessments and in quality of life measures, based on questionnaire assessments.
This study investigated correlations between mental workload, age, and NeuroTracker measures, with driving performance in 3 simulated scenarios. The goal was to see if these factors could be predictive of driving risks. Strong correlations with many driving specific performance metrics were found, including crash risk, emergency driving behavior, and average driving speed.
The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between visual tracking speed (NeuroTracker) and reaction time on basketball-specific measures of performance in NBA competitions. Reaction times did not correlate with on-court performance measures, whereas NeuroTracker scores were a strong predictor of several key performance metrics.
NeuroTracker was examined for its effectiveness for improving working memory span in members of the Canadian Armed Forces. A very short intervention of 10 sessions of NeuroTracker training showed transfer to 3 different measures of working memory, with consistently large effect sizes.
This paper outlines the foundational concepts for the application of perceptual-cognitive training techniques (NeuroTracker) for the assessment and enhancement of athletic performance. It also presents a study NeuroTracker learning in relation to dual-task loads, revealing that learning effects are sensitive to motor-skill loads.
Jocelyn Faubert (2013). This unique study reveals dramatic differences in the visual learning capacities of professional athletes, amateurs and university students. It shows that elite athletes typically have superior perceptual-cognitive learning capacities.
By Dr. Daniel P. Corts
There are three things that can be said about the science of PCM training in sports:
1. Training isn’t just about strength, cardiovascular, and metabolic fitness. It’s about nervous system function.
2. Most exercises are focused on those types of fitness, or fine-tuning them. It’s only incidentally shaping the nervous system.
3. PCM exercises the nervous system through increased complexity.
Sports neuroscience tells us that training doesn’t just strengthen and tone muscles, it literally changes the form and function of the brain and peripheral nervous system—a phenomenon known as neuroplasticity. Drills that focus only on one or two isolated movements fail to take advantage of this. PCM training capitalizes on neuroplasticity by incorporating perception, cognition, and action into exercises so that they all become part of a large network of skills.
How does this work? The brain is a network of billions of cells that communicate with each other through neurochemical signals, and these signals extend to nervous system cells throughout the body, delivering instructions about movements and bringing in information from the senses. When we learn and refine skills, the neuronal pathways involved in those particular sensations, thoughts, and actions can be strengthened (potentiation) and new connections are formed (synaptogenesis). Meanwhile, connections that may interfere with performance can even be suppressed (inhibition). All of these functions comprise neuroplasticity: Training can literally rewire your nervous system.
Most exercises and drills are not designed with neuroplasticity in mind, and so they only partially engage those processes. PCM training addresses this problem through cognitive complexity: It places greater demands on the athlete than typical training methods by increasing the variety of possible cues, decisions, and responses incorporated within any specific drill. So how does this encourage neuroplastic development, and why is it better?
Although the neuroscience is complex, we can understand it by analogy with other types of connections. Imagine an exercise that involves pulling a large weight with a cable, and with each round of exercise, the cable becomes thicker and stronger. Over time, and with standard, old-fashioned exercise, the cable will be a monster, able to move the weight without any danger of tearing or breaking.
Although that sounds good, the problem is that the cable is only able to pull the weight in one direction, and even a small obstacle could block the weight’s path. The PCM approach can achieve similar strength, but through enhancing networks of connections. What if exercise, instead of increasing the strength of a cable, simply added additional cables? This would provide additional strength, but also opens the opportunities to pull in different directions. The diverse pathways can produce many different combinations of actions, promoting strength, agility, and responsiveness.