Int J Sports Med 2014; 35(08): 708-713
DOI: 10.1055/s-0033-1363235
Clinical Sciences
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Anxiety and Attention Shifting in Professional Baseball Players

D. H. Han
1  Psychiatry, Chung Ang University Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea
B. N. Kim
2  Psychiatry, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea
J. H. Cheong
3  Uimyung Research Institute for Neuroscience, Samyook University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
K. D. Kang
4  Sports Industrial Information, Chung Ang University, AnSung, Republic of Korea
P. F. Renshaw
5  Psychiatry and Brain Institute, University of Utah, Salt lake, Utah, United States
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

accepted after revision 11 November 2013

Publication Date:
19 February 2014 (online)


Based on the work of both Eysenck and Nideffer, we hypothesized that higher ranking players (HRP) would have lower competitive anxiety and more flexible attention-shifting, compared to lower ranking players (LRP). In addition, different patterns of attention (low anxiety and flexible attention) would be represented by a different pattern of brain activity within the temporal lobe and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. In accordance with the rookie draft ranking, the players were classified into 2 groups: HRP (top 30% of those selected in the draft) vs. LRP (bottom 30% of those selected in the draft). For assessment of executive function, a computerized version of the Wisconsin Card-sorting Test (WCST) was used. Brain activity was assessed using 1.5-Tesla functional magnetic resonance imaging. In response to scenes depicting baseball errors, HRP showed increased activation in the left cingulate cortex and decreased activation in right middle temporal gyrus, compared to LRP. In response to the simplified WCST in the scanner, HRP showed increased activation in left superior frontal cortex (DLPFC), compared to LRP. The present results suggest that HRP may demonstrate elevated cingulate activation and lower temporal cortex activation in response to scenes depicting baseball errors.