Athletes in a Slump: Neurophysiological Evidence from Frontal Theta Activity

Jingu Kim


The purpose of this study is to investigate the neurophysiological differences in athletes who suffer from a slump and other athletes who do not. Eighteen high school student athletes participated in this experiment. A subjective questionnaire was conducted to identify athletes in a slump (i.e., the slump group) and not in a slump (i.e., the no-slump group). EEG data was recorded at 4 regions (left prefrontal, right prefrontal, left frontal, and right frontal). A two-way (2 groups x 4 regions) ANOVA was performed on the dependent variable (i.e., frontal theta power). The findings of this study demonstrated that participants in the no-slump group showed higher frontal theta activity than their counterparts in the slump group. From the findings of this study, it is suggested that mental fatigue may cause low frontal theta activity in athletes who experience a slump. The present study makes an important contribution to the current literature by being the first to report that EEG theta power over frontal regions can be used as a marker of athletes suffering from a slump.


EEG; Frontal theta activity; Athletes; Mental fatigue

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