Successful Motor Performance of a Difficult Task: Reduced Cognitive-Motor Coupling

Kuo Pin Wang, Ming Yang Cheng, Tai Ting Chen, Kao Hung Lin, Chung Ju Huang, Thomas Schack, Tsung Min Hung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This study characterized the adaptive attentional allocation that occurs during motor preparation. The specifications of task-relevant and task-irrelevant neural processes are key processes that facilitate successful performances by skilled athletes under difficult task conditions. Previous sport psychophysiology studies have used event-related desynchronization/synchronization analysis and electroencephalography (EEG) power analysis to distinguish the types of neuroelectric activity that occur during effortful but functional performance and effortful but dysfunctional performance. However, the dynamics of cortico-cortical communication in both performance states remain unclear. This study linked the simple model of attention allocation and the psychomotor efficiency hypothesis with EEG coherence analysis to specify the dynamics of cortico-cortical communication during successful performance. A within-subjects design was used. Intersite phase coherence (ISPC) and imaginary ISPC were used to compute 8–13 Hz EEG connectivity from EEG recordings obtained before successful and unsuccessful performances (i.e., 40 skilled golfers; 40%–60% putting success rate as individual task difficulty). Successful performance was characterized by (a) lower 8–13 Hz ISPC and imaginary ISPC (imISPC) at T7–Fz in the −2,000 to −1,000 ms time window and (b) lower 8–13 Hz imISPC at T7–Cz in the −1,000 to 0 ms time window. This study suggests that successful performance is characterized by reduced communication between verbal–analytical and motor planning processes, followed by decreased communication between verbal–analytical and motor control processes before putting initiation. Our findings not only characterize the dynamic neuromotor processes between successful performance and unsuccessful performance of a difficult task, but also provide practical guidelines for interventions such as neurofeedback training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-184
Number of pages11
JournalSport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Nov 4


  • Electroencephalography (eeg)
  • Neurofeedback
  • Performance optimization
  • Precision sports
  • Psychomotor efficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Applied Psychology


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