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Soccer Superstar Plays With Very Low Brain Activity

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the one-hemisphere-tied-behind-his-back dept.

Science 160

jones_supa (887896) writes "Brazilian superstar Neymar's (Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior) brain activity while dancing past opponents is less than 10 per cent the level of amateur players, suggesting he plays as if on "auto-pilot", according to Japanese neurologists Eiichi Naito and Satoshi Hirose. The findings were published in the Swiss journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience following a series of motor skills tests carried out on the 22-year-old Neymar and several other athletes in Barcelona in February this year. Three Spanish second-division footballers and two top-level swimmers were also subjected to the same tests. Researcher Naito told Japan's Mainichi Shimbun newspaper: "Reduced brain activity means less burden which allows [the player] to perform many complex movements at once. We believe this gives him the ability to execute his various shimmies." In the research paper Naito concluded that the test results "provide valuable evidence that the football brain of Neymar recruits very limited neural resources in the motor-cortical foot regions during foot movements"."

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"Intelligence" is not earned. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47537949)

It's something you are born with. You can hone it, as this guy's done, but the bulk of the work was done before you could even talk.

And aristocracy is just meritocracy, private property, and two generations.

Re:"Intelligence" is not earned. (4, Interesting)

digitalchinky (650880) | about 2 months ago | (#47538035)

Malcolm Gladwell has an interesting take with his 10,000 hour theory. If you are passionate about something and you live and breath it for long enough, you obviously get good at it. Most people are not quite so fanatical - but this is a choice, meaning they could be if they wanted to. And what is intelligence anyway? How do you quantify it such that one person is born with more of it than someone else?

Re:"Intelligence" is not earned. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47538163)

Intelligence is the ability to solve problems that one has never before encountered.

Re:"Intelligence" is not earned. (4, Insightful)

michaelmalak (91262) | about 2 months ago | (#47538277)

That's a common misperception of what Gladwell write. His actual formulation was 10,000 hours + talent + opportunity.

Re:"Intelligence" is not earned. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47538299)

Indeed. 10,000 hours is the only ingredient that nearly everyone can put in.

Re:"Intelligence" is not earned. (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 months ago | (#47538913)

Practicing 2x a week for 2h equals 208h per year.
In roughly 48years you have the 10,000h done.

Well, I don't know why it is called a "10,000h theory" ... after all it is a no brainer. Everyone who does some sports knows that a particular technique has to be repeated about 1000 times to work more or less and about 10,000 times to be close to perfect. But ofc. there is always room to improve even more.

The hours are less important, the repetition counts. Unfortunately if you learn something complex, you basically have to learn a few dozen basic and many more complex movements in that art.

However suppose one trains 5h each day (the art, not the additional body building, mental training, massages or gymnastics) for 6 days a week and practices 50 of the 52 weeks, he does 1500h in a single year. So from age 12 to 18 he has 9000hours .
That translated into martial arts is roughly the equivalent of a 4th DAN, but for that you need longer due to 'regulations regarding examinations', waiting periods between 2 examinations.

However I would not be scared if starting a new art. If you simply never stop you easy do it for 30 years, or longer till the rest of your life. Finally you will be an 'old master'.

We germans have a proverb or a saying, well it is more a phrase: "Das Glueck des Tuechtigen". Means roughly translated: the luck of the strenuous one. The final goal in the soccer champion ships, was such a thing. The guy giving the pass did that from an impossible position for the shooter. But the shooter somehow twisted his body, looking over his shoulder to accept the ball with his chest, from an 'impossible' angle, letting the ball drop on his left foot and placing it into the goal. 'Just like that'
Without his plenty of 10,000h's he would not have been able to do that, nor had the pass giver given such a pass. And it is very unlikely that someone with only 1000h training could have done that ... but that makes the "10,000" not a theory (in the laymen meaning of theory) but rather a physical fact.

More on MA (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 2 months ago | (#47539203)

That translated into martial arts is roughly the equivalent of a 4th DAN, but for that you need longer due to 'regulations regarding examinations', waiting periods between 2 examinations.

Depends on the martial art. The most modern practice recognizes natural talent while incorporating considerable traditional technique; I assure you, everyone does not walk into their first day of training on an equal basis -- I've been teaching for decades and I think I've seen about every level of beginner skill there is. Some people are simply gifted. Certainly from there on in we see the difference between the shows-up-once-a-week and the person who seems to be there every hour they can possibly manage.

Also, more on topic, I can definitely assure anyone who is curious that you're not doing high level thinking when executing advanced martial arts techniques.

All you really need to do to understand this is think about bike riding. When you learn, you learn, you think like crazy. Which does you very little good. But eventually, you internalize the process (that's what I call it, anyway) and you can do it while carrying on a conversation with someone else, paying almost no attention at all to the activity of riding the bike. Those near-instant balance corrections, the precise amount of handlebar control and lean for cornering, all of that comes from "underneath." Same thing for advanced MA.

That whole business about finding your calm center and holding it -- that's a real thing. If you start thinking under threat or pressure, your performance will drop like a stone. The best technique comes from a relaxed, centered condition, accepting of whatever comes.

Re:More on MA (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 months ago | (#47539577)

Depends on the martial art. The most modern practice recognizes natural talent while incorporating considerable traditional technique; I assure you, everyone does not walk into their first day of training on an equal basis

Yeah, below Sho Dan. After Sho Dan you are limited by the restrictions of your federation, or you have to 'hand out' your 'own graduations' which are not respected by others or other federations.

Also, more on topic, I can definitely assure anyone who is curious that you're not doing high level thinking when executing advanced martial arts techniques.

Depends what you mean with that.
All you really need to do to understand this is think about bike riding. When you learn, you learn, you think like crazy. Which does you very little good. But eventually, you internalize the process (that's what I call it, anyway) and you can do it while carrying on a conversation with someone else, paying almost no attention at all to the activity of riding the bike.
So you mean: you are not thinking about the art. Ofc. not. But you perhaps think like a bike rider: what is about the next corner.
For me it is easy to think while doing martial arts ... as I do the actual doing without thinking ... if that is what you mean. Or on the other hand I use to do 'self reflecting' while practicing ... that is a lot of thinking, too :D

Re:"Intelligence" is not earned. (1)

sribe (304414) | about 2 months ago | (#47538095)

It's something you are born with. You can hone it, as this guy's done, but the bulk of the work was done before you could even talk.

Actually, that's not right at all. Research shows more & more the link between intelligence and environment & experience.

Re:"Intelligence" is not earned. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47538179)

Actually, that's not right at all. Research shows more & more that intelligence is highly heritable.

What is not true is the classist notion that intelligence is 100% inherited.

Re:"Intelligence" is not earned. (1)

ranton (36917) | about 2 months ago | (#47538465)

Actually, that's not right at all. Research shows more & more that intelligence is highly heritable.

What is not true is the classist notion that intelligence is 100% inherited.

He said there is a link between intelligence and environment & experience. He didn't even say it is a strong link. How could you possibly say he is not right at all when you completely agreed with him?

Re:"Intelligence" is not earned. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47538595)

"Research shows more & more..." is what is "not right at all".

Re:"Intelligence" is not earned. (1)

ranton (36917) | about 2 months ago | (#47538681)

The "more and more" refers to an increasing quantity of research, not the magnitude of the link.

Re:"Intelligence" is not earned. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47539545)

Then the statement is vacuous. Time will always bring more evidence for a true proposition, but that doesn't necessarily increase its importance in the wider picture.

Put it another way... (1, Insightful)

denzacar (181829) | about 2 months ago | (#47537951)

You don't need much brain for running around kicking a ball.

Re:Put it another way... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47538009)

Or making a /. comment.

Re:Put it another way... (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | about 2 months ago | (#47538165)

You don't need much brain for running around kicking a ball.

No, you don't need much intellect.

Re:Put it another way... (4, Insightful)

alphatel (1450715) | about 2 months ago | (#47538241)

You don't need much brain for running around kicking a ball.

You're absolutely correct in a very zen kind of way. In order to be in the zone, or flow, you still need to make decisions such as "lean left, kick right", or "stop short, pass forward", but they key is to not let those minor mental decisions get in the way of your physical ability to execute. Some people are born with the ability to simply "do it", other may take years of practice to learn to let go of the process, but in the end it's all about realizing your potential without anxiety about the outcome.

Re:Put it another way... (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 2 months ago | (#47538379)

The interesting part is are some people really born with the ability to "do it". There is a lot of research that disputes that. Even studies of child prodigies like Mozart show that they have actually put in their 10,000 hours, it's just that they started at a very young age and had an opportunity for a very high quality practice (Mozart father was a famous music teacher and he started from the day Mozart was born).

Re:Put it another way... (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 2 months ago | (#47538331)

No, but running at full speed while controlling the ball and getting past highly skilled opponents who are trying to stop you does.

Re:Put it another way... (2)

GenaTrius (3644889) | about 2 months ago | (#47539071)

I think the idea is that all this guy's practice has streamlined his mental footballing process. If you tried to go kick a ball around in a stadium full of screaming fans while trying to avoid all the other people trying to kick the ball, you'd use tons of brain power. I suspect I'd use so much I'd pass out. But this guy's trained himself to filter out all the superfluous information and do the work as naturally as I type these words.

No shit, it's soccer. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47537955)

Soccer is literally one of the dumbest sports around.

The field is huge, so there aren't really any space constraints.

The objective is as simple as could be: kick a ball around.

The ball is large.

The nets are large, especially compared to the size of the human trying to guard them.

The pace is rather slow, even during bursts of "activity".

Any sort of physical contact above a slight nudge will get a player penalized.

It's like every single aspect of the game has been crafted to be slow, dumb and easy. I have no fucking idea how a single match can attract 100,000 third-worlders to attend in person, who will sit there for 90+ minutes to watch a boring, uninspiring "sport".

Re:No shit, it's soccer. (0)

redback (15527) | about 2 months ago | (#47538005)

I bet you prefer handegg.

Re:No shit, it's soccer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47538055)

So you are saying that it is easy as shit?

Re:No shit, it's soccer. (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 months ago | (#47538073)

You forgot the most important aspect of soccer:

It can be played by anyone, anywhere, without any equipment save something round-ish to kick.

Re:No shit, it's soccer. (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 months ago | (#47538927)

The same can be said about martial arts :D
And you need much less space, or other way around: you can place much more people on the same place, e.g. a soccer field.

Re: No shit, it's soccer. (1)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about 2 months ago | (#47538093)

Everything sounds dumb when you oversimplify it.

I mean, shit, American Football is a game about running forward and sometimes catching a large ball. And you want to talk about slow pacing, they cover a field 2/3rds the size of a soccer field about 1/10th as many times, and most of the game is standing around waiting to play. Even the "exciting" bits only move a few yards.

Your post and mine have roughly the same amount of truth to them.

Re: No shit, it's soccer. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47538177)

Why do soccer fanatics always bring up American football whenever somebody points out that soccer is a rather shitty sport?

And why the fuck would soccer fanatics do this when nobody else has said anything about American football prior?

Of course American football is a shitty sport, too, just like soccer. No shit, they suffer from the same problems! Unnecessarily large playing fields, similarly huge targets, a similarly slow pace, dumb-as-fuck players, and so forth.

Do you understand how stupid it makes you sound when you say, "Duhhhh soccer is good sport coz handegg suks too!"? In case you don't, let me tell you that it makes you sound REALLY fucking stupid!

Real sports involve a fast pace, a comparatively small object, a confined space, a difficult goal, and real skill. Ice hockey and box lacrosse are good examples of real sports that take real physical and mental skill. Even badminton and ping pong are more challenging sports than soccer and American football are!

Re: No shit, it's soccer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47538213)

Why do soccer fanatics always bring up American football whenever somebody points out that soccer is a rather shitty sport?

And why the fuck would soccer fanatics do this when nobody else has said anything about American football prior?

So Rugby fans saying that "American football and rest-of-the-world football both suck" for the last hundred years or so don't count?

Re: No shit, it's soccer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47538219)

Why exactly are sports with a slow pace shitty?
I mean, I hate running and I think watching any sport on tv is boring as fuck, but apparently football is entertaining enough for people to play it.
So what makes it shitty exactly? And what makes you an expert on determining the merits of sports?

Re: No shit, it's soccer. (1)

GNious (953874) | about 2 months ago | (#47538561)

Football is called "The Beautiful Sport" for a reason - there is more to it than running the fastest and scoring the most point, in the smallest-possible area.
Some of the above posters only care about action and numbers, and dislike concepts like elegance and skill.

Re: No shit, it's soccer. (2)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 2 months ago | (#47539239)

i think women's beach volleyball is "the beautiful sport"

Re: No shit, it's soccer. (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 2 months ago | (#47539343)

I've never heard football called "elegant," but in soccer they have flop plays where you elegantly throw yourself to the ground and squeal like a stuck pig.

Re:No shit, it's soccer. (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 months ago | (#47538467)

Oooh boy...

And your take on golf is....

No shit, it's soccer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47538511)

Soccer is a great sport. Watching people run around for an hour accomplishing nothing is great if I need something to help me go to sleep.

expert skill-based integration (3, Insightful)

anegg (1390659) | about 2 months ago | (#47537965)

I'm only an armchair cognitive scientist, but my interpretation of this result is that it shows how an expert player has integrated the knowledge of how to play as a skill. The player no longer has to think through each situation and plan a response, the brain recognizes patterns and produces a response automatically. This allows for a higher-level of play because the player's conscious mind is free to act at a higher level, producing better tactics and strategy.

Re: expert skill-based integration (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47538193)

It's not even the brain making the decisions. It is commonly assumed incorrectly, especially by computer people, that the brain is like a CPU and the limbs are peripherals, and nerves are like a network. But most of the heavy processing is actually distributed and done locally. You can prove this by timing how long it takes for nerve impulses to travel from the limbs to the brain. The latency is so bad that if the brain was doing the processing you probably couldn't walk. When people say things like that a baseball pitcher has a good arm, they are being quite literal. The brain ain't doing shit but deciding what pitch to throw.

Re: expert skill-based integration (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 2 months ago | (#47539251)

the brain is likely choosing which pitch to throw, e.g. high and outside fastball, but the arm does the throwing, i.e, snap the wrist at the exact moment to give it the spin it needs.

Re:expert skill-based integration (4, Insightful)

drkstr1 (2072368) | about 2 months ago | (#47538285)

It's just muscle memory. They drill this into us all the time in martial arts. When fighting, you don't have time to sit and think about your next move, it just has to come naturally, like some kind of instinct. I'm not surprised by these findings at all. Sparring is one of the very few activities that allow me to quite my mind.

Re:expert skill-based integration (2)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 months ago | (#47538605)

It is not muscle memory.
Muscle memory is something completely different and works on a very different level.
Muscle memory e.g. lets you perform a perfect strike, or a punch or a kick.
But it does not let judge you how to pass a ball perfectly into the way of the guy who will make a goal, avoiding offside and the guy tackling you and the other one and that third defender running straight into the obvious path.
Nor does muscle memory help you to actually execute that pass.
Muscle memory only helps to execute perfectly simple basic moves in perfection. (I'm a martial artists, doing Aikido roughly 30 years and some others for decades, for Karate e.g. muscle memory is very important, for Aikido not so much)

Re:expert skill-based integration (1)

drkstr1 (2072368) | about 2 months ago | (#47538721)

I appreciate your experience and insight, but for me at least, this is not the case. I'm a TKD/BJJ guy myself, so I need to be ready for the fight to go anywhere and be ready defend against anything. The ability to "turn your mind off" and just go with the flow is exactly what keeps me from getting my head knocked off. I would have described myself as someone who is bad at sports prior to getting into MMA. In hindsight, maybe I was just bad at sports because I thinking to hard...

Re:expert skill-based integration (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 months ago | (#47539097)

Then try to wake up in that flow, and watch yourself. Much more fun.

Re:expert skill-based integration (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 2 months ago | (#47538359)

That's exactly what it is. Like a master level chess player plays 20% by calculation and 80% by pattern recognition while with a recreational player it is the opposite.

Re:expert skill-based integration (2)

Aighearach (97333) | about 2 months ago | (#47539401)

That's exactly what it is. Like a master level chess player plays 20% by calculation and 80% by pattern recognition while with a recreational player it is the opposite.

As a rated chess player I have to say, "What a load!"

Calculation vs "pattern recognition" isn't even the dichotomy used in chess. And pattern recognition is mostly considered to be part of the calculating process. The strategic process ("positional" play) is based on a wide variety of things, very little of which is pattern recognition. For the master, anyways. For the club player it is pattern recognition because they have little understanding and just have to match the learned rules of thumb (patterns) to the position.

But at the higher levels of chess it is well established that the top players (for decades!) use a balanced style that doesn't favor any part of the game or any particular style, and the players with a strong style or preference do not score consistently and are lower rated.

Strategic play is not pattern matching, it is based on extensive understanding, on having studied a large number of games, broken them down into concepts, and then deciding which concepts overlap in which places. You can't just match patterns, you have to have an understanding, and apply it. Pattern matching is without that semantic element. The same pattern will have a different meaning depending on edge subtleties, and those subtleties are what positional play is about.

Pattern matching is mostly part of "tactical" (non-strategic) play, where you find a type of weakness that can be exploited by force. Pattern matching tells the chess player which lines to calculate. So calculation cannot be the opposite to pattern recognition.

Re:expert skill-based integration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47539225)

This is true.
People who drive in heavy traffic all the time don't use much of their brain to do it, they're managing at a higher level, and the "vehicle management" is almost autonomous.

Same for riding a horse. The first 6 months, you have to work at just staying on; but eventually, that comes automatically, and you start managing the process at successively higher and higher levels.

Someone who is a competitive football player and plays full time is going to do things like running, dribbling, kicking, trapping without having to consciously think about it.

Science or anecdote? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47537969)

With a sample size of 1, what can this possibly prove?

Re:Science or anecdote? (2)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 2 months ago | (#47538259)

Well it proves there is one footballer with a brain.

If you've ever seen them being interviewed on TV - either before or after a match, even that singular result will be a surprise.

Re:Science or anecdote? (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 months ago | (#47539029)

Well, ost of them have more brains than the interviewers :D that is enough for me.
E.g. during the game of germany against algeria the commentator kept repeating how bad both teams play. He kept repeating that it is a shame that germany can not handle that "third class team" (he omitted 'politely': from africa).
Then every time the game was a bit less hectic he was telling us about the algerian team: "16 of the 22 players are born in France", "Mr. X plays for Manchester United", "Mr. Y playes for Barcelona" ... bla bla. Point is: half of the Algerian team consists of players who play in world class teams. The rest plays also in teams that are not that bad.
The Commentators and Reporters simply are stuck in the late 70s where half of the world championships' teams where from third world countries that hardly could afford flying to the games. This game had only two teams that had no chance, USA and Iran, well Japan perhaps as the third one. People forget: it is a tournament. The one who is winning in the end is: The Winner. Not "The best Team(tm)".
There is to much luck, red cards, injury, bad referees, going into the penalty shooting etc. involved.

Now: how do you explain the first question of a reporter to the first player of the winning team after the mentioned game above: "why did you play so bad?" Retarded, isn't it?

In my eyes it is not playing bad if you play against a very good team and you struggle to win against it.

Well, I guess the answer of the german player, I believe it was Lahm, probably felt into the category you mean ;D

Dumb jock? (1)

j33px0r (722130) | about 2 months ago | (#47537981)

Sounds like Captain Obvious has struck again by "proving" a common "truth" that everyone already knew.

Re:Dumb jock? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47538129)

No, you idiot, it means that superior athletes don't have to expend as much brain power performing complex physical maneuvers than the rest of us slobs. Some athletes are gifted genetically that way, while everyone else has to practice repetitive movements in order to achieve the same level of performance.

Re:Dumb jock? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47538481)

Congratulations, you failed at reading, the only idiot in this story is you.

Lucy ???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47537989)

So what would happen if he used 100% of his brain !!!!

Re:Lucy ???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47537997)

He'd be playing hockey instead.

Re:Lucy ???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47538039)

We call that a seizure [wikipedia.org] , it's not much fun to watch.

Re:Lucy ???? (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 2 months ago | (#47538187)

He'd have a lotta splainin' to do?

Duh (3, Insightful)

c (8461) | about 2 months ago | (#47538013)

I guess that's a sexier headline than "Expert Soccer Player Has Good Muscle Memory", and it does tie into that recent bit of excitement down in Brazil, but otherwise I'm not seeing anything in the summary that comes as a surprise... Is it that part where they quantify the differences in neural activity between "expert" and "amateur"?

Re:Duh (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 months ago | (#47538639)

This is not muscle memory, but high specialized brain areas. Special neurons that clump together and specialize in certain 'low level' task.

Re:Duh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47538659)

Where does this "muscle memory" sit, in the muscles? I doubt it. So how is low brain activity explained by "muscle memory"?

Re:Duh (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 2 months ago | (#47539443)

Where does this "muscle memory" sit, in the muscles? I doubt it. So how is low brain activity explained by "muscle memory"?

In the nerves that attach to the muscle, yes. It is distributed.

When other parts of the nervous system are taking on a load, there is less load in the brain. The same thing is true in any similar system like an electrical circuit, hydraulic system, or heat distributor.

It is well established that the limbs can respond, in certain situations like this, faster than the most simplistic analysis would presume. If you measure the amount of time it would take the signals to go from the eye through the brain to the conscious parts and then send a signal to another part of the brain to send a signal to the limb, well, an advanced athlete already moved before that signal would arrive.

The details of that are not well known yet. Certain things like flinching from a poke to the finger are well understood; the nerve in your arm tells your muscle to move at the same time it is forwarding the signal up to your brain. UNLESS before the poke your brain was sending a "don't react" signal of some sort. How that part works is unknown, except that people can do it.

Martial artists sometimes have similar response abilities to a soccer prodigy. It is usually called "mind of no mind," the ability to move and think with your whole body, without invoking the conscious part of the brain. It is generally believed to require extensive meditation practice in order to program the nerves with the catalog of responses.

Muscle memory is a totally different thing, though.

Turned Off Brain (4, Interesting)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about 2 months ago | (#47538045)

Some people turn of thought when in a fight. It can be a learned talent and it makes ones response much faster and blows delivered much more accurate. The catch is that when in that state extra violence can be delivered as the person is on auto pilot. Courts have not dealt with this as so few people who do this can verbalize what was going on. I'm not so certain that the true capacity to form intent exists in a person in that state of mind. Even advanced chess players can get into a similar state in which they can calculate chess moves like a machine but are sort of not human for a bit after the game is over. A portion of their minds has been diverted elsewhere and it makes them sort of silly emotionally.

Re:Turned Off Brain (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 months ago | (#47538783)

That is a different state of mind.
When you play trance like soccer or are in a flow state in a fight, you are actually pretty aware about 'everything' going around you.
A 'normal guy' who is capable of going into such a meditative state would never execute excess violence. People who do that are more in a 'berserk state' or similar 'rage states'.

Yeah, like a soccer player would never bite ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47539001)

Yeah, like a soccer player would never bite ...

Oh, wait.

Sorry buddy, you and all your trancelike enlightened 'normal' guys are just as human and fallible as the rest of us apes.

And just as likely to get violent and go berserk in certain circumstances.

Re:Yeah, like a soccer player would never bite ... (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 2 months ago | (#47539583)

You're almost there, buddy. Now the next step to understand is that being a meditative performance state, or being in a rage state, is temporal. A person might be a meditative state at one moment, and then get frustrated that they didn't score a goal, lose their meditative state, become enraged, and bite your ear off. None of that contradicts anything, or claims that it is somehow the nature of the human. You can be normal, too, and you can be momentarily enlightened, just like most other people. Don't sell yourself short.

Re:Turned Off Brain (1)

digitect (217483) | about 2 months ago | (#47539185)

Which explains Suarez.

this why the NBA and NFL need minor league (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 months ago | (#47538059)

They should not be in college and at some schools people on the Football team get a free pass in just about all classes.

No one RTFA (as usual) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47538075)

I'm sure we'll get plenty of prejudice and 'lol sports are dumb' here, but TFA compares the brain activity of a top professional player with that of an amateur, and it only shows that the pro needs to think less to perform.

Re:No one RTFA (as usual) (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about 2 months ago | (#47538117)

What they didn't say is that Neymar shows only 10% brain activity compared to another "common" person for whatever he's doing...

Re:No one RTFA (as usual) (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 2 months ago | (#47538343)

What they didn't say is that Neymar shows only 10% brain activity compared to another "common" person for whatever he's doing...

So you're saying he's more intelligent than the "common" person? It's been understood/believed for some time that that the more intelligent a person is the less their brain has to work at similar tasks.

Re:No one RTFA (as usual) (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 2 months ago | (#47539601)

If you're going to call physical sports ability intelligence, then you'd have already known he was more intelligent than the "common soccer player" before this study.

Everything uses the brain. A person more practiced at willful ignorance might, for example, use less brain power overcoming cognitive dissonance than a "common partisan mouth-breather" without the same level of experience. Does that make them more intelligent, less intelligent, or just better at a certain arbitrary skill?

Humans are generalists, most things we do will involve the brain. But that doesn't make everything we do intelligent.

Soccer superstars are idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47538099)

You don't have to write such a boring and lengthy piece of crap to tell people that.

Naymar (0)

present_arms (848116) | about 2 months ago | (#47538119)

is Scottish for "No mom"

Otherwise known as getting in the zone (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 2 months ago | (#47538147)

You let your medulla most of the work. There's very little reason to spend any time on what's commonly thought of as higher functioning when you're focused on sight/reaction. Any "thought" is devoted only to grasping the topographical and tactical situation and mildly guiding yourself through it. This is what allows you to coordinate the multiple movements. Anyone promoting that this is dumb is merely rationalizing their inability to do it.

In other news, water is wet (2)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 2 months ago | (#47538169)

So he plays using "automatic" [wikipedia.org] skill. Every target shooter knows that place. Every cook flipping an egg knows that place. Hell, everybody knows that place. When you're first learning to drive, making a left-hand turn or backing out of a parking place requires lots of thought about HOW to do it. After long practice, you don't think about it, you simply do it. The trick, in soccer, or shooting, or writing code, anything that requires sustained performance, is to stay in that place.

Focus (1)

malvcr (2932649) | about 2 months ago | (#47538175)

Don't mistake it ... this doesn't mean that it is not necessary to think to have the job done.

This means that some people has the capability of turning off some parts of their brain that they don't need in some specific moment to focus better in what they are doing. This is not negative, this is a very special capacity.

I could call this the "soldier effect". A good soldier is the one that when given the order to kill perform the task without any complain. But a bad soldier could not to decide to kill because is thinking very much. The same happens with terror, then somebody is terrified he/she doesn't perform what is important, because the brain (that it is confused in that moment) will take the place of the automatic internal system that really knows what to do.

Corollary: to use very much the brain doesn't mean that we do a better job. It depends on what the job is.

So (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 2 months ago | (#47538203)

How about some comparisons with other professional sports?

Re:So (1)

oobayly (1056050) | about 2 months ago | (#47538253)

Or even a comparison with his brain activity when inactive.

Re:So (1)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | about 2 months ago | (#47538369)

I remember a study making the news in the 90's comparing men and women's brain activity while doing tasks that require 3d reasoning. It was kind of a similar result: men and women would score about the same on the task, but the women's brains lit up like a Christmas tree while the men's brains had fairly localized activity.

What about when (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47538249)

We don't care about his brain activity kicking a ball, what about when he's biting someone, is it 0% activity zombie mode activated?

Flow (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | about 2 months ago | (#47538261)

Should be no surprise to anyone who's every played a videogame: he's in "flow" mode.

Which raises the question: how is this news for nerds?

Re:Flow (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 2 months ago | (#47538489)

Should be no surprise to anyone who's every played a videogame: he's in "flow" mode.

How do you know that it is the same thing?

Which raises the question: how is this news for nerds?

I thought that how the brain works is quite nerdy topic. That is why I submitted this. Would you like to see less news like this in the future?

Zen in the Art of Futbol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47538293)

The foot kicks the ball itself, like the bamboo leaf slowly bends under the weight of the snow, then releases the clump of snow without thought.

.

Is There A Lot More Activity (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 2 months ago | (#47538323)

Is there a lot more activity somewhere else in his nervous system? Perhaps we distribute the processing load as we learn the moves. IIRC I've read a couple of papers that suggest that more processing than we realize takes place in our retinas when we do object recognition. I'd guess if you measured the brain activity of someone who's been driving for a couple of decades while they're driving, you'll find a lot less brain activity than someone who's just started. Maybe that's why the newbie has so much trouble with it -- it's an activity that requires a lot of reflexive movement and the newbie hasn't learned those yet. I've noticed that when I get in a car where the controls are a bit different, my eyes don't know where to go to gather the information that I need right now and I actually have to think about it. Could be a symptom of that...

Fore brain and Hind brain (1)

RichMan (8097) | about 2 months ago | (#47538389)

Well trained physical activity is done by your medulla oblongata which means it is done closer to the input and outputs and does not get your thinking brain involved. Thinking is indecision and slows down reaction time.

Re:Fore brain and Hind brain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47538555)

Well trained physical activity is done by your medulla oblongata which means it is done closer to the input and outputs and does not get your thinking brain involved. Thinking is indecision and slows down reaction time.

You have been watching far too much Happy Gillmore.

medulla oblongata indeed.

Soccer makes you stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47538441)

I KNEW it! Soccer really does make you stupid.

Now they need to scan the branes of NASCAR fans to prove that particular stereotype.

Re:Soccer makes you stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47538509)

It's really quite funny to see all these people happy to proclaim that this is proof that sportmen are dumb, which is of course not, but their post is certainly proof that they can't understand a few lines.

Actually not really news (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 months ago | (#47538571)

Interesting perhaps, 'in the german article' they said his brain activity was lower in comparison with other professional soccer players. That *is* interesting.

But it is old news that high skilled professionals, especially if they do body work, like martial artists or artists or musicians easy get into a state called 'flow'.

"Reduced brain activity means less burden which allows [the player] to perform many complex movements at once. We believe this gives him the ability to execute his various shimmies."
That is ofc. nonsense. Instead of inventing brain dead 'explanations' they either should do some sports themselves, or cross link with other scientists.
Specializations like this happen because kinda large areas of the brain specialize on a certain activity, like the left hand of a guitarist.
While one part of the brain lowers its activity (that is what they figured) other parts have specialized into it (that is what many other brain researchers have figured long ago).

Re:Actually not really news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47538895)

Right. Maybe we'll discover that what we call "focusing intensely on a task" will turn out to involve the turning off of brain activity that is not related to the task. Neymar might be able to shut off neural background chatter, and just be completely concentrated on the action he's taking.

Mushin no shin / The Mind without Mind (1)

Irate Engineer (2814313) | about 2 months ago | (#47538701)

Japanese martial art traditions describe a similar concept of mushin ("no mind") where actions are achieved intuitively without active thought.

At some level, most* achieve this for basic tasks. You don't need to actively think about each muscle contraction and joint movement when you walk, or type on a keyboard, etc.. A lifetime of repeating these activities has trained the brain to minimize expenditure during these tasks.

The same goes for sports, martial arts, anything requiring extensive training to master.

* but some people do, those with sensory or physical impairments.

Feet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47538827)

I think it was Bill Shankley, watching a new player try out:
" The trouble with you, lad, is all your brains are in your head."

New Study (1)

Pete Venkman (1659965) | about 2 months ago | (#47538919)

Timothy edits with very low brain activity.

so what happens at +60% brain activity? (1)

JohnnyDoesLinux (19195) | about 2 months ago | (#47539017)

He can teleport the ball into the goal?

Re:so what happens at +60% brain activity? (1)

JohnnyDoesLinux (19195) | about 2 months ago | (#47539033)

Damn, I just saw the earlier Lucy reference. Too slow. Must not be using my brain power.

Yogi Berra (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47539043)

Old news.

"You can't think and hit at the same time." --- Y. Berra.

Musicians also know the truth of this.

-dpa

Brains for soccer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47539125)

The only brains you need to play soccer is the ability to throw yourself on the ground while faking that you are in mortal pain as soon as an opponent comes within 10 feet....

Not too surprising... (2, Funny)

Patent Lover (779809) | about 2 months ago | (#47539161)

Doesn't take a lot of brain power to fake an ankle injury

I admit, my head is empty (1)

hene (866198) | about 2 months ago | (#47539201)

What is thinking anyway, you go your options through pretty quickly. I think, most of the time it is just making yourself accept the situation or solution.

I made him (1)

trumpetto (525720) | about 2 months ago | (#47539321)

I Taught Him Everything He Knows
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