QEEG markers of superior shooting performance in skilled marksmen: An investigation of cortical activity on psychomotor efficiency hypothesis

Ming Yang Cheng, Kuo Pin Wang, Michael Doppelmayr, Fabian Steinberg, Tsung Min Hung, Calvin Lu, Ying Ying Tan*, Bradley Hatfield

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


For elite performers, psychomotor behavior's success or failure can be traced to differences in brain dynamics. The psychomotor efficiency hypothesis suggests refined cortical activity through 1) selective activation of task-relevant processes and 2) inhibition of non-essential processes. The use of electroencephalography (EEG) has been applied to investigate psychomotor performance's neural processes. The EEG markers that reflect an elevation of psychomotor efficiency include left temporal alpha (T3 alpha), frontal midline theta (Fm theta), sensorimotor rhythm (SMR), and the coherence between frontal and left temporal regions. However, the relationship between elite performers' task-relevant and non-essential neural processes is still not well understood. Therefore, this study aimed to explore how each task-relevant and inhibition of non-essential processes contribute to superior psychomotor behavior. Thirty-five highly skilled marksmen were recruited to perform 30 shots in the shooting task while the EEG was recorded. The marksmen were divided into two groups (superior & inferior) based on a median split of shooting performance. The superior group exhibited higher accuracy and precision, with a reduction in movement jerk. EEG measures revealed that the superior group exhibited higher SMR before the trigger pull than the inferior group. In addition, the superior group demonstrated reduced Fz-T3 coherence in their bull's eye shots than the missed shots. These results suggest that the superior group exhibited less effortful engagement of task-relevant processes and lower interference from non-essential cortical regions than the inferior group. The study's overall findings support the psychomotor efficiency hypothesis. When comparing highly skilled performers, the slight differences in brain dynamics ultimately contribute to the success or failure of psychomotor performance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102320
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Mar


  • athlete
  • neural processes
  • neurofeedback
  • sensorimotor rhythm
  • sport performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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