Cortical fMRI activation to opponents’ body kinematics in sport-related anticipation: expert-novice differences with normal and point-light video

Badminton players of varying skill levels viewed normal and point-light video clips of opponents striking the shuttle towards the viewer; their task was to predict in which quadrant of the court the shuttle would land. In a whole-brain fMRI analysis we identified bilateral cortical networks sensitive to the anticipation task relative to control stimuli. This network is more extensive and localised than previously reported. Voxel clusters responding more strongly in experts than novices were associated with all task-sensitive areas, whereas voxels responding more strongly in novices were found outside these areas. Task-sensitive areas for normal and point-light video were very similar, whereas early visual areas responded differentially, indicating the primacy of kinematic information for sport-related anticipation.