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Open AccessArticle

“No Pain No Gain”: Evidence from a Parcel-Wise Brain Morphometry Study on the Volitional Quality of Elite Athletes

1
CAS Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
2
CAS Key Laboratory of Behavioral Science, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
3
Department of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
4
CUBRIC, Cardiff University, Maindy Road, Wales Cardiff CF24 4HQ, UK
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Collaborative Innovation Center of Assessment toward Basic Education Quality, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
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Department of Physical Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200030, China
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Department of Psychology, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518061, China
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School of Physical Education and Sports Science, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510006, China
9
EuroMov Digital Health in Motion, Univ Montpellier, IMT Mines Ales, 34090 Montpellier, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 459; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070459
Received: 7 June 2020 / Revised: 8 July 2020 / Accepted: 14 July 2020 / Published: 17 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Studying Brain Activity in Sports Performance)
Volition is described as a psychological construct with great emphasis on the sense of agency. During volitional behavior, an individual always presents a volitional quality, an intrapersonal trait for dealing with adverse circumstances, which determines the individual’s persistence of action toward their intentions or goals. Elite athletes are a group of experts with superior volitional quality and, thereby, could be regarded as the natural subject pool to investigate this mental trait. The purpose of this study was to examine brain morphometric characteristics associated with volitional quality by using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and the Scale of Volitional Quality. We recruited 16 national-level athletes engaged in short track speed skating and 18 healthy controls matched with age and gender. A comparison of a parcel-wise brain anatomical characteristics of the healthy controls with those of the elite athletes revealed three regions with significantly increased cortical thickness in the athlete group. These regions included the left precuneus, the left inferior parietal lobe, and the right superior frontal lobe, which are the core brain regions involved in the sense of agency. The mean cortical thickness of the left inferior parietal lobe was significantly correlated with the independence of volitional quality (a mental trait that characterizes one’s intendency to control his/her own behavior and make decisions by applying internal standards and/or objective criteria). These findings suggest that sports training is an ideal model for better understanding the neural mechanisms of volitional behavior in the human brain. View Full-Text
Keywords: volition; brain structure; sense of agency; sport; MRI volition; brain structure; sense of agency; sport; MRI
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wei, G.; Si, R.; Li, Y.; Yao, Y.; Chen, L.; Zhang, S.; Huang, T.; Zou, L.; Li, C.; Perrey, S. “No Pain No Gain”: Evidence from a Parcel-Wise Brain Morphometry Study on the Volitional Quality of Elite Athletes. Brain Sci. 2020, 10, 459. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070459

AMA Style

Wei G, Si R, Li Y, Yao Y, Chen L, Zhang S, Huang T, Zou L, Li C, Perrey S. “No Pain No Gain”: Evidence from a Parcel-Wise Brain Morphometry Study on the Volitional Quality of Elite Athletes. Brain Sciences. 2020; 10(7):459. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070459

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wei, Gaoxia; Si, Ruoguang; Li, Youfa; Yao, Ying; Chen, Lizhen; Zhang, Shu; Huang, Tao; Zou, Liye; Li, Chunxiao; Perrey, Stephane. 2020. "“No Pain No Gain”: Evidence from a Parcel-Wise Brain Morphometry Study on the Volitional Quality of Elite Athletes" Brain Sci. 10, no. 7: 459. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070459

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