Thursday, 5 August 2010

Brain activity in goal-directed movements in a real compared to a virtual environment using the Nintendo Wii.

Baumeister J, Reinecke K, Cordes M, Lerch C, Weiss M.

Exercise & Brain Lab, Institute of Sports Medicine, Department of Exercise & Health, University of Paderborn, Warburger Str. 100, 33098 Paderborn, Germany.

Neurosci Lett. 2010 Aug 30;481(1):47-50. Epub 2010 Jun 25.

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Low budget virtual environments like the Nintendo Wii increased in popularity and may play a role in motor learning related to sports and exercise. But nothing was known about the comparability of cortical activity of motor tasks in real and virtual environments. The aim of the study was to examine cortical differences between real and Wii based virtual sports performances using the golf putt as a model. Ten male golfers (26.0 +/- 0.7 years; 81.8 +/- 5.6 kg; 184.5 +/- 6.0 cm; handicap 30.0+/-10.0; 2.9+/-1.0 years of golf experience) were asked to putt for 3 min in random order in the real and the virtual Wii condition. A rest in sitting position (3 min) followed each performance. The score and cortical activity (EEG) were recorded continuously. The participants performed with a significant better score in the real condition (p < or = 0.01). Compared to virtual putting Theta spectral power showed a significant increase during real performance at F3 and F4 (p < or = 0.05). Significantly increased Alpha-2 power was demonstrated during real putting compared to the virtual putting performance at P3 (p < or = 0.05). The findings suggested that putting performance and brain activity was influenced by the choice of a real or virtual environment. The results were discussed based on the concept of the working memory where increased frontal Theta power indicated higher focused attention and higher Alpha-2 power was inversely related to the quantity of sensory information processing in the real putting compared to the virtual condition. 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved. More

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