“What happens in the brain of a baseball player as a 100-mph pitch hurtles toward him? How does a surfer on her board analyze the nuances of an evolving wave?”
These are the kinds of questions that will be answered by Neurosurgeon Dr. Sameer Sheth and others at Neuroscience of Sports, a special series put on by the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) starting this month.
“I’ll be focusing on one of my particular interests: how the brain is able to rapidly make decisions,” said Dr. Sheth in a recent interview with AMNH event organizers. “This is very applicable to professional athletes. The human brain—especially the pre-frontal region—has developed special mechanisms that allow it to efficiently make rapid decisions by controlling the way it receives and processes cues from the environment.
For example, a professional baseball player engages this mechanism when he is facing a major league pitcher; it allows him to gather an amazing amount of information about the ball’s movement, velocity, and spin in order to make a rapid decision to slightly adjust his swing. On the other hand, the same player taking practice swings with a pitching machine where the ball is coming at him from the same angle and with the same velocity every time does not need to engage that same type of control mechanism.”
Dr. Sheth will be speaking on September 30, one of five Monday evenings dedicated to sports and the brain at the AMNH. Sign up NOW for the AMNH Neuroscience in Sports series! Hurry though, because the deadline to sign up is September 16, 2013, the first evening of the event.
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