Critical Analysis of Neuropsychological Research in Sports

ars representing different scientific publications

Ever wondered about the authenticity and credibility of the numerous blogs and articles discussing neuropsychological research, especially in the realm of sports? Dive deep with Sportbrain as we critically analyze our own blogs and the scientific literature they are based upon.

Read more: Critical Analysis of Neuropsychological Research in Sports

Sportbrain: A Journey of Over 200 Blogs

Sportbrain has consistently delivered over 200 blogs covering a myriad of topics. Predominantly, these articles draw inspiration from scientific literature. These studies are then meticulously related to real-world applications. Nevertheless, such links often hinge on certain assumptions. Our aim has always been to dissect scientific jargon and present the knowledge in a more digestible form for our readers.

Discovering Discrepancies in Neuropsychological Research

In the pursuit of fresh scientific insights, I stumbled upon a paper by De Vries et al., 2017. The image below provides a compelling illustration:

Distinct bars represent different scientific publications. Each fresh publication tends to highlight a unique aspect. If the original research is largely negative, it implies the intervention may not be effective. However, due to numerous citations and publications, there’s a risk that in our Sportbrain blog, we might inadvertently emphasize only the positive findings.

The Influence of Jargon on Perception

Why do we sometimes lose our objectivity concerning scientific studies? Weisberg and his team deduced in 2015 that we’re more inclined to trust findings labeled as ‘neuropsychological research’. This inclination remains unchanged whether jargon is utilized or there’s mere reference to the brain. Moreover, the power of social validation significantly influences our beliefs. Consider the popular theory of Growth versus Fixed mindset, conceptualized by Carol Dweck. Some firmly believe in inherent capabilities (fixed mindset), while others think abilities can be cultivated (growth mindset). However, Yue Li and Timothy Bates tried replicating Dweck’s study and didn’t obtain identical outcomes.

The Power of Visual Representations

Images often speak louder than words, but they require scrutiny too. Many familiar with Dweck’s work recognize the following illustration:

Illustration related to Carol Dweck's Growth versus Fixed mindset theory.

Such images hold significant nuances. Szucs & Loannidis conducted a study on similar illustrations. After evaluating 1161 papers, they found that over 90% of studies using neuroimaging showcased the desired effect in merely 6 participants. Naturally, for publication purposes, the most fitting images get selected to substantiate the intended effect.

A Plea for Critical Consumption

Stay vigilant and critical of what you read, be it Sportbrain’s blogs or any article referencing ‘neuropsychological research’. Pay heed to accompanying illustrations and their implications. Personally, I believe the Growth Mindset theory is profound, albeit presented with certain embellishments. With the right nuances and approach, it can undoubtedly add value. Don’t forget to check out this insightful TED Talk on the Growth Mindset.


de Vries, Ymkje & Roest, Annelieke & Jonge, Peter & Cuijpers, Pim & Munafò, M. & Bastiaansen, Jojanneke. (2018). The cumulative effect of reporting and citation biases on the apparent efficacy of treatments: The case of depression. Psychological Medicine. 48. 1-3. 10.1017/S0033291718001873.

Weisberg, Deena & Keil, Frank & Goodstein, Joshua & Rawson, Elizabeth & Gray, Jeremy. (2008). The Seductive Allure of Neuroscience Explanations. Journal of cognitive neuroscience. 20. 470-7. 10.1162/jocn.2008.20040.

Li, Yue & Bates, Timothy. (2019). You can’t change your basic ability, but you work at things, and that’s how we get hard things done: Testing the role of growth mindset on response to setbacks, educational attainment, and cognitive ability. Journal of experimental psychology. General. 148. 1640-1655. 10.1037/xge0000669.

Szűcs, Dénes & Ioannidis, JPA. (2017). Empirical assessment of published effect sizes and power in the recent cognitive neuroscience and psychology literature. 10.17863/CAM.9013.

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