The role of visual perception in action anticipation in basketball athletes

Y. Wu, Y. Zeng, L. Zhang, S. Wang, D. Wang, X. Tan, X. Zhu, J. Zhang, J. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Athletes exhibit better anticipation abilities than novices. However, it is not known whether this difference is related to different visual perceptions between them and which neural elements are involved in producing this difference. Fifteen elite basketball players and 15 novices participated in an action anticipation task with basketball free throw. Accurate rate for anticipation and gaze behavior were analyzed. Functional brain activity was recorded using functional magnetic resonance imaging. We found that the accurate rate for anticipation was higher in athletes than that in novices. Athletes showed more stable gaze fixation than novices and the locus of fixation was reliable in athletes but not in novices. Athletes showed higher activity in inferior parietal lobule and inferior frontal gyrus than novices during action anticipation. We conclude that the processes for action anticipation in elite athletes and novices are different and this difference is caused by different visual perceptions between them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-41
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Action anticipation
  • Athlete
  • Basketball
  • Mirror neuron system
  • Visual perception


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