Although neural visual processes play a crucial role in sport, experiments have been restricted to laboratory conditions lacking ecological validity. Therefore, this study examined the feasibility of measuring visual evoked potentials in a sport-specific visuomotor task. A total of 18 international elite young table tennis athletes (mean age 12.5 years) performed a computer-based and a sport-specific visuomotor reaction task in response to radial motion-onset stimuli on a computer screen and table tennis balls played by a ball machine, respectively. A 64-channel electroencephalography system identified the N2 and N2-r motion-onset visual evoked potentials in the motion-sensitive midtemporal visual area. Visual evoked potential amplitudes were highly correlated between conditions (N2 r = .72, N2-r r = .74) although significantly lower in the sport-specific task than in the lab-based task (N2 p < .001, N2-r p < .001). The results suggest that sport-specific visual stimulation is feasible to evoke visual potentials. This emphasizes the investigation of visual processes under more ecologically valid conditions in sport and exercise science.

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PubMed