The Neural Mechanism of Long-Term Motor Training Affecting Athletes' Decision-Making Function: An Activation Likelihood Estimation Meta-Analysis

Front Hum Neurosci. 2022 Apr 13;16:854692. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2022.854692. eCollection 2022.


Decision-making is an advanced cognitive function that promotes information processes in complex motor situations. In recent years, many neuroimaging studies have assessed the effects of long-term motor training on athletes' brain activity while performing decision-making tasks, but the findings have been inconsistent and a large amount of data has not been quantitatively summarized until now. Therefore, this study aimed to identify the neural mechanism of long-term motor training affecting the decision-making function of athletes by using activation likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analysis. Altogether, 10 studies were included and comprised a total of 350 people (168 motor experts and 182 novices, 411 activation foci). The ALE meta-analysis showed that more brain regions were activated for novices including the bilateral occipital lobe, left posterior cerebellar lobe, and left middle temporal gyrus (MTG) in decision-making tasks compared to motor experts. Our results possibly suggested the association between long-term motor training and neural efficiency in athletes, which provided a reference for further understanding the neural mechanisms of motor decision-making.

Keywords: activation likelihood estimation (ALE); brainmap; decision-making; fMRI; motor training; neuroimaging.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review