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The Role of Domain-Specific and Domain-General Cognitive Functionsand Skills in Sports Performance: A Meta-Analysis
University Of Vigo, Vigo, Spain; University of Skövde, Skövde, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8519-6596
University Of Modena And Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2109-7652
German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1350-7903
German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany; London South Bank University, London, United Kingdom.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6546-1666
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2021 (English)In: Psychological bulletin, ISSN 0033-2909, E-ISSN 1939-1455, Vol. 147, no 12, p. 1290-1308Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Cognition plays a key role in sports performance. This meta-analytic review synthesizes research that examined the relationship between cognitive functions, skills, and sports performance. We identified literature by searching Cochrane Library, APA PsycINFO, PubMed, and Web of Science. We included studies conducted on competitive athletes, assessed cognitive prerequisites, and included performance measures related to the sport. Of the 9,433 screened records, 136 reports were included, containing 142 studies, 1,227 effect sizes, and 8,860 participants. Only 11 studies used a prospective study design. The risk of bias was assessed using the Risk of Bias Assessment Tool for Nonrandomized Studies. The multilevel meta-analysis showed a medium effect size for the overall difference in cognitive functions and skills, with higher skilled athletes scoring better than lower skilled athletes (Hedges' g = 0.59, 95% CI [0.49, 0.69]). The moderator analysis showed larger effect size for tests of cognitive decision-making skills (g = 0.77, 95% CI [0.6, 0.94]) compared to basic (g = 0.39, 95% CI [0.21, 0.56]) and higher cognitive functions (g = 0.44, 95% CI [0.26, 0.62]), as well as larger effect for sport-specific task stimuli compared to general ones. We report that higher skilled athletes perform better on cognitive function tests than lower skilled athletes. There was insufficient evidence to determine whether cognitive functions and skills can predict future sport performance. We found no evidence to support claims that tests of general cognitive functions, such as executive functioning, should be used by practitioners for talent identification or player selection. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Washington, DC: American Psychological Association (APA), 2021. Vol. 147, no 12, p. 1290-1308
Keywords [en]
cognitive functions, decision-making, expertise, sports level, sports performance
National Category
Psychiatry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-46750DOI: 10.1037/bul0000355ISI: 000779479500005PubMedID: 35404636Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85127946898OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-46750DiVA, id: diva2:1655329
Available from: 2022-05-02 Created: 2022-05-02 Last updated: 2022-05-02Bibliographically approved

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Lindwall, MagnusIvarsson, Andreas

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Kalén, AntonBisagno, ElisaMusculus, LisaRaab, MarkusPérez-Ferreirós, AlexandraAraújo, DuarteLindwall, MagnusIvarsson, Andreas
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