Neuroscience of American Football: How NFL Player’s Brains Read Plays

Neurosciencing the NFL how players brains recognize plays. A lot of times the quarterback will come to the line look
at the defensive configuration and then change the play Hall and audible because
he saw something when we talk about baseball we talk about that the batter
is aware of where they are in the game what hitting is that what the count is
what does this picture normally like to do and that had to do with pattern
recognition in the fusiform gyrus would those same areas in theory be active
when one of the did to find the pattern of a defensive posture or defensive
posture I think it’s quite likely that that’s that is true I think another
place that’s probably incredibly important is the cerebellum there’s two
reasons one is very concrete which is that you have to make the right eye
movements to assess the situation you don’t get eye movements that work
without cerebellum having it say when the quarterback is scanning he scans cuz
he knows how to move his eyes cuz he’s done it a million times in practice what
is cerebellum need it needs practice you practice it over and over and over again
and as smart as they are and it’s competitive and as motivated as they are
it doesn’t happen until they practice it because the cerebellum is a data hungry
beast and it once practiced it wants to see this stuff over and over again in
order to get the right program to go forward and that development of the
cerebellar program that’s the same thing that allows gymnasts to perfect their
routines and allows all the finely tuned physical things that we do that athletes
do as performers do that impress us so much normally we think about it taking
in motor data and putting out coordinated output it could also take in
non motor perceptual motivational effective input and put out a
commensurate output so that’s why I think that this wreck
mission of the defense’s probably has an eye movement part to it and then a part
where you’re able to recognize patterns in a visual scene you’re being able
essentially to perceive them better using your cerebellum there’s not any
one area of the brain that’s responsible for any one particular thing we speak
about the cerebellum being involved in recognizing plays when you see things
light up on an fMRI it doesn’t mean that that part of the brain is working and
everything else is asleep to emphasize that point the cerebellum actually has
no access to motor neurons so it can’t do diddly squat it has got to go through
other areas so it goes it wants to talk to cortex cortex won’t understand you
unless you come from thalamus so it goes to thalamus which goes to cortex and it
also goes to brainstem areas such as the superior colliculus or a nucleus is a
very dynamic set of pathways we speak of individual areas – that’s interesting
and useful in some ways to talk about and because we’re just dumb humans I
mean we have limitations i I can’t imagine all of these areas in the same
depth at the same time so I you know when I teach for example motor pathways
I have to choose the ones I’m gonna call primarily motor but everything is much
you know if if I for example didn’t thermoregulate I couldn’t walk so
everything is involved

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