The effect of the predominant playing position of elite basketball players on executive functions using both behavioral and electrophysiological measurements was investigated in the present study. Forty-six elite basketball players, including 27 guards and 19 forwards, were recruited. Event-related potential (ERP) signals were simultaneously recorded when the athletes performed the visual Go/NoGo task. Analyses of the results revealed that the guards and forwards groups exhibited comparable behavioral (i.e., reaction time (RTs) and accuracy rates (ARs)) performance. With regards to the electrophysiological indices, the guards relative to the forwards exhibited a shorter N2 latency in the Go condition, a longer N2 latency in the NoGo condition, and a smaller P3 amplitude across the two conditions. These results suggested that although the guards and forwards exhibited similar abilities in terms of behavioral inhibition, different neural processing efficiencies still exist in the basketball playing positions, with guards showing divergent efficiencies in the target evaluation and response selection of the target and non-target stimuli and fewer cognitive resources during premotor preparation and decision-making as compared to the forwards.
Keywords: Go/NoGo; basketball; cognition; event-related potential; inhibition; playing positions.