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Reporting Executive Dysfunctions versus Measuring Executive Functions as Predictor of Cognitive Skills in Athletes




Executive Functions, Self reporting, Talent identification, Cognitive diagnostics


Cognitive diagnostics, especially the measurement of executive functions (EFs) in the context of sports and talent diagnostics, is a popular research topic. However, research is lacking on the extent to which self-reports are sufficient to examine the EFs of athletes for performance diagnostics. Thus, the current study aims to evaluate the relationships between neuropsychological tasks (3-back task, cued GoNoGo task, flanker task, and number-letter task) and a self-report for examining EFs (BRIEF-SB). Furthermore, it should be investigated whether it is possible to predict the outcome of EF tasks using a self-report inventory. Therefore, 68 young professional soccer players (Mage = 14.26 ±1.35 years) from a national youth academy were included in the study. The weak-to-moderate correlations (r[59] = .000, p = .999 to r[59] = -.442, p < .01) and the results of sensitivity analysis (0.125 to 0.538) do not suggest using a self-report of EFs for cognitive performance diagnostics. The inventory is only suitable for identifying executive dysfunctions in athletes recovering from head injuries or concussions.


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Author Biography

Florian Heilmann, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg

Dr. Florian Heilmann (born 1992) studied sports and sports science as well as health promotion and therapy (M.Sc.) from 2011-15. He is currently working as a research assistant at the Institute for Sports Science at the University of Halle-Wittenberg (Movement Science Lab). He received his PhD in 2019 at the intersection of biomechanics and motor skill research. He is currently researching the area of cognition in sport.



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