April 15, 2024

Sport, Health and Exercise Science at Bangor University - Sample lecture.

Published June 12, 2023, 3:20 p.m. by Jerald Waisoki

Dr Andy Cook delivers a Sport, Health and Exercise Science sample lecture.

You may also like to read about:


everyone croissant welcome my name is

andy cook

and i'm a senior lecturer here at bangor


in sport health and exercise science and

i'm really very pleased today to have

the opportunity

to deliver this online lecture where i'm

going to briefly introduce you to

something that really fascinates me

and that is the psychophysiology branch

of sports psychology

and within that we're going to talk

about neurofeedback a cutting-edge

method of brain training

that can help give athletes the leading


and in doing so i hope this is going to

give you a sample of the sort of sports

science content

you can expect to cover with me if you

studied here at banga university

so the learning objectives for this

session by the end of this session i

hope to have

instilled you with enough information to

be able

to define the term psychophysiology and

also to describe how neurofeedback

training works

i also hope that you'll be able to

recognize why i really think

that these should be really important


in a modern sports science curriculum

finally i hope you'll be able to gain an

appreciation for the sort of

research-led teaching you can expect

here at bangla university

and also the sort of student research

projects you will have the opportunity

to be involved in

if you study here in bangor so without

further ado

psychophysiology what is this term what

is this branch of science well

some of you might have encountered it

before but if you haven't

i'd just encourage you to just take a

moment now to think about what that term

might mean

and if you've done that i'd like to bet

that whatever you've come up with is

pretty close to the mark because


is what it says on the tin really it's

an interdisciplinary

branch of performance science that looks

at the interaction between

mind and bodily processes in order to

understand human behavior um in this

image here on the slide you can actually

see a participant in one of my

psychophysiological experiments

and we're recording simultaneously his

brain waves his muscular tension

his cardiovascular activity his grip

force his impact velocity in order to

answer some really interesting questions

that are at the core really of sport

science so for instance this approach


allow us to understand the mechanisms

that underpin human movement

it can also allow us to understand the

mechanisms that sometimes

fail under psychological pressure for


when an athlete is under elevated


what effect does this have on their

brain waves is that responsible for the

change in performance

does it have an impact on their muscular

tension for example

these are the sorts of really

interesting performance driven questions

that we can answer with this

psychophysiological approach

and importantly i actually adopted this

approach in an experiment that was

published in 2014

and i was really excited to reveal a

pattern of brainwave that was actually

associated with performance success so i


a particular frequency of brainwave that

occurred two seconds before

movement that was able to predict

whether or not

the subsequent put was going to go in

the hole or whether it was going to miss

now that was really exciting because it

gives us some

information about the mechanisms that

underpin human movement

but also it allows us to use


to address the next generation of

research questions specifically

how can we use psychophysiology to

customize training programs

to optimize human performance and so

that's what i'm going to talk to you

about now

via a form of brain training called

neurofeedback something that i've been

working on here at bangor university for

the last

10 years or so so neurofeedback training

is a cutting-edge type of brain training

that involves recording

an individual's brain waves and then

displaying those brain waves back

by a brain computer interface technology

in order to help the individual to learn

how to take control of their brain waves

how to

get into the zone and how to remain in

the zone for optimal performance

when it matters the most now you might

be thinking how does brain training work

well i can give you an analogy

via heart rate so i'd like to think that

most of you at some stage would have

recorded your heart rate

in fact some of you right now might be

wearing wrist watches might have smart

phones that have got heart rate

monitoring technology built into them

now if you record your heart rate you

can learn pretty quickly that if you

start thinking about

particularly exciting or perhaps


thoughts your heart rate might increase

a bit conversely

if you use imagery to picture yourself

on a very relaxing beach

for instance your heart rate might

decrease a little in essence you can


how via your thoughts you can control a

physiological signal in this case your

heart rate

well neurofeedback training works off

exactly the same principles so by

actually displaying

an individual's brain waves back to them

they can learn

surprisingly very very quickly how to

actually take control of their brain

waves and

produce particular patterns of brain

waves that that might be conducive for

optimal performance

now if you're still thinking that's a

bit strange i'm going to show you a

video now to really illustrate that so

this is me in the laboratory here at

bangor with a couple of croquet

players you'll see this guy's brain

waves being fed back on the screen

behind him

and you'll also hear an auditory tone

now that tone is set to silence when he

produces the particular

brainwave that is conducive for optimal

ball striking in croquet

so his goal is to silence the brainwave

and when he does that that means he's in

the zone and he's free to hit his shot

so let's have a look at how that works


so he silences the tone and then he hits

the shot

let's see one more example of that


so he's trying to silence the tone

and when it's silent he hits his shot


that was just a brief training session

but i actually used this

precise approach a few years ago now in

what was one of the very first

large-scale controlled neurofeedback


in a sample of golfers and i actually

trained some of these golfers to produce

the pattern of brain waves that i've

previously revealed to be associated


golf putting success and i was really

excited to find that

as a result of just three hours of brain

training the golfers who received this

training were able to really take

control of their brain waves

and actually after this brief period of


there was some evidence that their

performance actually improved

and so this was one of the first

experiments of its kind it's really

exciting it's actually since been

replicated by

other research laboratories in various

parts of the world

and not only that this technology has

now been commercialized and is actually

being used

by some of the world's leading athletes

to actually incorporate

brain training in the field into their

regular training programs

and to illustrate that i'm going to

briefly show you a video now of

britain's justin rose olympic

champion major winner one of the top

ranked golfers in the world and he

regularly uses now this neurofeedback


the technology is being used justin rose

is one of the world's leading golfers

that's the how i wear so what this is

is basically like an eeg reading of my

brain left brain right brain basically

tells me if i'm being creative or


so this is what i train with so when i'm

training my routines i'm trying

so we're getting basically feedback uh

digital feedback on my app to say okay

yeah i'm in i'm in the sweet spot or no

i'm being too creative what was that

thought what you're thinking about

too analytical so for me this work is

this is even more important around the

greens chipping and putting as well i

feel like this is

really really key for me um i want to

paint a picture i want to see it i want

to react to it and the guy who's

coaching me

can say oh you know what happened

halfway through that routine i'd be like

yeah i just

i looked down i just felt like i wasn't

really trusting my alignment and

so we're getting that real feedback now

so i think that's a really

interesting insight into how this


psychophysiological research and brain

training research that we're leading on

here in bangor university

is now being applied in the field by

practitioners and by real life elite

level athletes

now not only will you learn about this

sort of neurofeedback research with me

here at bangor university but all

students at bangor university

also get the opportunity to do their own

research project in their final year

um a few years ago now i was approached

by a student

sophie who was interested in

neurofeedback training

and she was also interested in cycling


in collaboration with dr anthony

blanchfield and dr james hardy we set

sophie the task of actually

identifying a candidate pattern of brain


that might be conducive to endurance

cycling and without going into too much

detail as a research

team we came up with the hypothesis that

if we train

cyclists to impr increase their left

frontal activation

this might have a beneficial impact on

their performance because it might

increase their approach

motivation and it might delay the urge

to withdraw that sometimes

could occur and limit performance in

exhaustive exercise tasks

now to test this hypothesis we ran a


training experiment where sophie

delivered neurofeedback training

immediately before

student cyclists got on the bike and

performed a performance to exhaustion


and we were really excited to reveal

that participants who received

left frontal neurofeedback training were

actually able to cycle for around 30

percent longer

than people who received either no

training or who received a different

kind of brain training intervention in

fact we were so blown away by this

finding that we had another student

francesca mataula actually replicate and

extend this experiment

a couple of years ago and she found

really similar findings so

we're really excited by that and

francesca has now submitted

her research project for publication and

i forecast that this will be published

in a leading sports science journal in

the coming year and this will make a

really big impact i think on the cycling

community this is the first finding of

its kind

so we're really excited by that

finally i'm aware that i've talked about

neurofeedback and sport to now and some

of you might be more interested in

health and exercise

so i'm going to end on this final

student project this was a project that

i conducted with ammon preets to do

and she was interested in applying to

neurofeedback to health

and particularly to movement


we had the idea that neurofeedback might


useful in in helping people to relearn

fundamental motor skills following

injury or

illness and so to test that hypothesis

we developed a neurofeedback experiment

we implemented people with a leg brace

to immobilize their knee joint

and therefore um help them to

actually learn to walk in in a new

different way

as might occur after illness or injury

and we had them perform a standardized

clinical test and we looked at the

effects of neurofeedback

on their rate of relearning and we were

really excited to reveal that a

particular type of neurofeedback

focused on increasing cortical


over key motor and locomotion brain


was actually able to accelerate

relearning and we also found some

evidence that it did this by

increasing the automaticity of this new

motor skill

so this is really exciting for us it's

exciting implications for

many clinical domains and this was

actually published at the end of 2020

in a leading international journal

experimental brain research and i'm

really proud of that

in fact consistently here at bangor

university the best student projects

each year

often get published in high-level

international journals and this is

something that

you don't see in my experience very much

at other universities and it's testament

to the really high quality

student and staff research that can be

done here at bangor university

and this publication also went some way

to helping ammon preach secure her dream

job doing more

um in this research area in new zealand

so she's done really well from

from this particular research experience

so we're really excited by that

um i hope that gives you a flavor of how

this sort of research area can apply in

both sport and health settings

so the take home messages if i revisit

the learning objectives i hope

if you reflect yourself that you can now

uh see all three of those objectives

have been met i hope you can define

psychophysiology explain neurofeedback

training and recognize their importance

and i hope you get a feel for the

importance of research-led teaching and

that's something that we're very proud


here in bangor you will definitely get

that because you are taught

by academics who are active researchers

who are doing the research themselves

you're not being taught

out of textbooks you're being taught by


people who are at the call face so to

speak that's really important in future

briefing your career

and finally i'd also like to just

emphasize something that i'm very proud

of banger has a long and proud history

of being at the forefront of the sport

health and exercise science field and

i'd like to illustrate that by showing

you a picture of the catastrophe model

something that some of you guys might

have encountered before because this is

something that's actually

become one of the dominant perspectives

in the sport

and stress and performance literature


this is taught at universities and

across high school curriculums

the world over now this is something

that was born in bangor university in

1991 so we've got this long and proud


of being at the forefront of the

discipline and i really believe that the

sort of stuff that

i've talked about today is very much at

the forefront of the discipline

today and in studying it you can help

shape your future careers by ensuring

that you're

at the cutting edge of what is a really

dynamic and interesting

field of study so i'll end there deacon


thank you very much everyone for your

attention i hope this has

been of interest to you and i look

forward to welcoming some of you to

banger university

very soon thank you very much


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