Examining Neural Activity to Pitches and Feedback at the Plate: Psychological and Performance Implications

Research output: Conference PosterPoster


In an effort to gain a competitive edge, teams have begun to examine hitters' neural activity while they classify different pitch types. That research is useful in learning the time course and neural structures utilized in pitch recognition processes, but it does not account for the influences of pitch decisions and performance feedback on the psychology and behavior of hitters throughout a plate appearance or beyond. We can obtain valuable insight into hitters' behavior and their psychology, including their expectations, attentional focus, and self-regulatory learning processes, by examining the dynamic distribution of pitch-by-pitch neural activity in conjunction with neural activity to the performance feedback hitters receive between pitches. To examine this topic, collegiate baseball players and non-players (novices) completed a computerized video task assessing whether pitches were balls or strikes. Following each pitch, hitters received feedback on the accuracy of their decision before the next pitch was thrown. Participants' neural activity was recorded throughout the task. Results indicated relationships were present between college players' neural activity to feedback, their neural activity to the pitches, and their performance in the task. These relationships were not present in the novices. This finding suggests that players associated the information received in their performance feedback to their processing of the task and ultimately their task performance. Neural activity can index many psychological processes that underlie task performance and self-regulatory efforts to improve behavior, including informative evaluation, focused attention, and the monitoring and control of motor performance. Implications and uses for this research include assisting with scouting evaluations and player development procedures. Obtaining this level of psychological data, when combined with advanced analytic and physiological data, could provide new insights into performance modeling and player development plans and evaluations.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - Mar 2020
EventSABR Analytics Conference -
Duration: Mar 1 2020 → …


ConferenceSABR Analytics Conference
Period3/1/20 → …


  • Neuroscience and Neurobiology
  • Sports Studies

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