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Concept: Batting average


Hitting a baseball is often described as the most difficult thing to do in sports. A key aptitude of a good hitter is the ability to determine which pitch is coming. This rapid decision requires the batter to make a judgment in a fraction of a second based largely on the trajectory and spin of the ball. When does this decision occur relative to the ball’s trajectory and is it possible to identify neural correlates that represent how the decision evolves over a split second? Using single-trial analysis of electroencephalography (EEG) we address this question within the context of subjects discriminating three types of pitches (fastball, curveball, slider) based on pitch trajectories. We find clear neural signatures of pitch classification and, using signal detection theory, we identify the times of discrimination on a trial-to-trial basis. Based on these neural signatures we estimate neural discrimination distributions as a function of the distance the ball is from the plate. We find all three pitches yield unique distributions, namely the timing of the discriminating neural signatures relative to the position of the ball in its trajectory. For instance, fastballs are discriminated at the earliest points in their trajectory, relative to the two other pitches, which is consistent with the need for some constant time to generate and execute the motor plan for the swing (or inhibition of the swing). We also find incorrect discrimination of a pitch (errors) yields neural sources in Brodmann Area 10, which has been implicated in prospective memory, recall, and task difficulty. In summary, we show that single-trial analysis of EEG yields informative distributions of the relative point in a baseball’s trajectory when the batter makes a decision on which pitch is coming.

Concepts: Discrimination, Baseball, Pitcher, Fastball, Base on balls, Batting average, Curveball, Slider


Our visual abilities profoundly impact performance on an enormous range of tasks. Numerous studies examine mechanisms that can improve vision [1]. One limitation of published studies is that learning effects often fail to transfer beyond the trained task or to real world conditions. Here we report the results of a novel integrative perceptual learning program that combines multiple perceptual learning approaches: training with a diverse set of stimuli [2], optimized stimulus presentation [3], multisensory facilitation [4], and consistently reinforcing training stimuli [5], with the goal to generalize benefits to real world tasks. We applied this training program to the University of California Riverside (UCR) Baseball Team and assessed benefits using standard eye-charts and batting statistics. Trained players showed improved vision after training, had decreased strike-outs, and created more runs; and even accounting for maturational gains, these additional runs may have led to an additional four to five team wins. These results demonstrate real world transferable benefits of a vision-training program based on perceptual learning principles.

Concepts: Improve, Skill, Training, Task, Baseball, Batting average, Batting


Macmillan Cancer Support estimates that cancer costs an average of £570 a month for more than eight in ten patients, with working parents of young children hit hardest of all.

Concepts: English-language films, Batting average, Macmillan Cancer Support


To determine changes in average daily step count (ADSC) and 6-minute walk test (6MWT) due to use of low-activity feet (LA) and high-activity energy-storage-and-return (ESAR) feet, and examine the sensitivity of these measures to properly classify different prosthetic feet.

Concepts: Type I and type II errors, Batting average, School examinations


School nurses cite barriers to collecting comprehensive data on the care they provide. This study evaluated the feasibility of collecting school nurse data on selected child health and education outcomes. Outcome variables included school health office visits; health provider, parent, and staff communication; early dismissal; and medications administered. On an average day, the school nurses cared for 43.5 students, administered 14 medications, and averaged of 17 daily communications. Day 1 data collection times averaged 15 min or less. By Day 5, 6.6 min was needed to complete the survey. Data collection was feasible for 76% of those who elected to participate. Feasibility is enhanced by limiting the number of data points and the number of days for data collection using a data collection web interface. Data collection across large numbers of nurses and a wide range of school nurse delivery models is necessary to measure the impact of school nurse presence and interventions on child health and education outcomes.

Concepts: Education, Number, Nursing, Nurse, Outcome, Batting average, Googol, School nursing


The goal of accelerating expertise can leave researchers and trainers in human factors, naturalistic decision making, sport science, and expertise studies concerned about seemingly insufficient application of expert performance theories, findings and methods for training macrocognitive aspects of human performance. Video-occlusion methods perfected by sports expertise researchers have great instructional utility, in some cases offering an effective and inexpensive alternative to high-fidelity simulation. A key problem for instructional designers seems to be that expertise research done in laboratory and field settings doesn’t get adequately translated into workplace training. Therefore, this article presents a framework for better linkage of expertise research/training across laboratory, field, and workplace settings. It also uses a case study to trace the development and implementation of a macrocognitive training program in the very challenging workplace of the baseball batters' box. This training, which was embedded for a full season in a college baseball team, targeted the perceptual-cognitive skill of pitch recognition that allows expert batters to circumvent limitations of human reaction time in order to hit a 90 mile-per-hour slider. While baseball batting has few analogous skills outside of sports, the instructional design principles of the training program developed to improve batting have wider applicability and implications. Its core operational principle, supported by information processing models but challenged by ecological models, decouples the perception-action link for targeted part-task training of the perception component, in much the same way that motor components routinely are isolated to leverage instructional efficiencies. After targeted perceptual training, perception and action were recoupled via transfer-appropriate tasks inspired by in situ research tasks. Using NCAA published statistics as performance measures, the cooperating team improved from middling performance to first in their conference in Runs Scored and team Batting Average. This case suggests that, beyond the usual considerations of effectiveness and efficiency, there are four challenges to embedded training in the workplace setting -namely: duration, curriculum, limited resources, and buy in. In the case reported here, and potentially in many domains beyond sports, part-task perceptual-cognitive training can improve targeted macrocognitive skills and thereby improve full-skill performance.

Concepts: Decision making, Decision theory, Expert, Reaction time, Baseball, Batting average, Designated hitter, Instructional design


Given a decision that requires less than half a second for evaluating the characteristics of the incoming pitch and generating a motor response, hitting a baseball potentially requires unique perception-action coupling to achieve high performance. We designed a rapid perceptual decision making experiment modeled as a Go/No-Go task, yet tailored to reflect a real scenario confronted by a baseball hitter. For groups of experts (Division I baseball players) and novices (non-players) we recorded electroencephalography (EEG) while they performed the task. We analyzed evoked EEG single-trial variability, contingent negative variation (CNV), and pre-stimulus alpha power with respect to the expert vs. novice groups. We found strong evidence for differences in inhibitory processes between the two groups, specifically differential activity in supplementary motor areas (SMA), indicative of enhanced inhibitory control in the expert (baseball player) group. We also found selective activity in the fusiform gyrus (FG) and orbital gyrus in the expert group, suggesting an enhanced perception-action coupling in baseball players that differentiates them from matched controls. In sum, our results show that EEG correlates of decision formation can be used to identify neural markers of high-performance athletes.

Concepts: Baseball, Batting average, Batting, Designated hitter, Baseball positions, Fielder's choice, Strike zone, Batting order


Driving while sleepy is associated with increased crash risk. Rumble strips are designed to alert a sleepy or inattentive driver when they deviate outside their driving lane. The current study sought to examine the effects of repeated rumble strip hits on levels of physiological and subjective sleepiness as well as simulated driving performance. In total, 36 regular shift workers drove a high-fidelity moving base simulator on a simulated road with rumble strips installed at the shoulder and centre line after a working a full night shift. The results show that, on average, the first rumble strip occurred after 20 min of driving, with subsequent hits occurring 10 min later, with the last three occurring approximately every 5 min thereafter. Specifically, it was found that the first rumble strip hit reduced physiological sleepiness; however, subsequent hits did not increase alertness. Moreover, the results also demonstrate that increased subjective sleepiness levels, via the Karolinska Sleepiness Scale, were associated with a greater probability of hitting a rumble strip. The present results suggest that sleepiness is very resilient to even strongly arousing stimuli, with physiological and subjective sleepiness increasing over the duration of the drive, despite the interference caused by rumble strips.

Concepts: Alertness, Base on balls, Batting average, Rumble strip, Road surface marking, Baseball rules, Fielder's choice, Lane departure warning system


ABSTRACT This is the first study to show that when baseball batters fail to hit change-ups it is because they sit on a fastball. Sitting on a fastball refers to a strategy of baseball batters to always expect a fastball (a fast type of pitch), because expecting slower balls would result in too late movement initiation for unexpected fastballs. Here the authors analyzed movement patterns of highly talented baseball batters facing randomly presented fastballs and change-ups (a slower type of pitch). Results revealed that when batters failed to a hit change-up, this was due to too fast movement initiation patterns that were highly similar to those typically associated with fastballs. More specifically, the movement initiation pattern was not adjusted to the slower speeds of change-ups, resulting in a miss. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first behavioral experiment showing that the strategy of sitting on a fastball exists, and how it affects batting performance on change-ups.

Concepts: Concepts in metaphysics, Baseball, Pitcher, Fastball, Batting average, Changeup


Minimal work has studied physical size effects on statistical performance among Major League players. In this study, longitudinal, bivariate, and regression analyses studied the impact of physical size on offensive baseball statistics within a homogeneous talent sample of Major League batting leaders. BMI was calculated from heights and weights that were publicly available to form a statistical database of 4,360 offense leaders from 1950-2010. Repeated measures ANOVAs examined differences in anthropometrics and baseball statistics between each decade from 1950-2010. Bivariate correlation and linear regression analyses evaluated BMI as an independent variable of influence, where all tests applied an a priori significance level (p<0.05). After 1980, offensive performance increased (p<0.05) concurrent to body mass and BMI growth (p<0.001). During the 1960s, only batting average and on-base-plus-slugging percentages were found statistically decreased (p<0.05). All baseball statistics were positively correlated and predicted by BMI (p<0.001). Consideration to covariant factors is required in data interpretation, yet nonetheless, our results showed physical size (BMI) to positively influence Major League offensive statistics. Over the sixty-year period, greater body weight-to-height proportions owed to improved competitive performance, which suggests greater emphasis on hypertrophic stimuli in training and nutrition, as well as selection of larger professional baseball prospects.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Statistics, Batting average, Major League Baseball