Watching Sports Is Good For Your Brain
"With two out in the ninth, the bases are loaded and the Brewers' RBI leader has two strikes. The infield is in as the pitcher delivers. Its a hard grounder to third that he takes on the short hop and fires a bullet to first for the final out." If you have no baseball-specific knowledge, those sentences are meaningless. However, for those of us that have grown up with baseball, that description makes perfect sense and our mind's eye helped us picture the scene. That last sentence about the "hard grounder" and the thrown "bullet" may have even triggered some unconscious physical movements by you as your brain interpreted those action phrases. That sensorimotor reaction is at the base of what is called "embodied cognition".
"In contrast to traditional views of the mind as an abstract information processor, recent work suggests that our representations of objects and events are grounded in action. That is, our knowledge is embodied, in the sense that it consists of sensorimotor information about potential interactions that objects or events may allow."
In a study released yesterday, "Sports Experience Changes the Neural Processing of Action Language", Dr. Beilock's team continued their research into the link between our learned motor skills and our language comprehension about those motor skills.