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fMRI BOLD Signal Changes in Elite Swimmers While Viewing Videos of Personal Failure

Abstract

Athletes who fail are susceptible to negative affect (NA) and impaired future performance. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies have identified prefrontal, anterior cingulate, and limbic activations following negative mood provocation. Little is known about the neural correlates of negative self-reference (SR), especially in athletes. Even less is known about the neural correlates of the effects of cognitive intervention (CI) in modifying negative SR and NA in this population. In an fMRI study, 13 athletes watched a video of their own career-threatening defeat in two controlled blocks. Between fMRI blocks, they received a 20-min CI designed to assist in event reappraisal and planning for future performance. Relative increases post-CI were seen in premotor (BA6) and sensorimotor (BA4/1) cortices. Correlated with mood ratings, relatively higher pre-CI levels were seen in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, the right dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (PFC; BA10), the right dorsolateral PFC (BA45), the anterior cingulate, and the right parahippocampus. CI may counteract the detrimental effects of NA and negative SR on premotor and motor activity.

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Acknowledgement

The principal funding for this research and for the work of the first author, Dr. H. Davis came from private donations to Swimming Canada. The authors extend special thanks to the participating Canadian athletes and their coaches for unqualified support of this work. Dr. Burkhard Mädler of the University of British Columbia MRI Research Centre is thanked for facilitating the completion of this work. Thanks are also extended to Drs. Tricia Orzeck and Patrick Baillie for assistance though out the project. Supplementary to this was funding to the second author, Dr. Mario Liotti, from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression and the Canada Foundation for Innovation. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Dr. Hap Davis, Swimming Canada, Suite 354, 401–9th Avenue S.W., Calgary, AB, Canada. E-mail: hapdavis@gmail.com

Conflict of interest statement

There were no biomedical financial conflicts of interests and there were no conflicts of interest, directly or indirectly, for any of the researchers to declare.

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Correspondence to Henry Davis IV.

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Davis IV, H., Liotti, M., Ngan, E.T. et al. fMRI BOLD Signal Changes in Elite Swimmers While Viewing Videos of Personal Failure. Brain Imaging and Behavior 2, 84–93 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11682-007-9016-x

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Keywords

  • Self-reference
  • Emotion
  • Cognitive neuroscience
  • Cognitive intervention