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How Do Athletes' Brains Work?

Carl Zimmer takes a look at what makes athletes’ brains tick. Research has shown that athletes’ brains are more efficient (“they produce the desired result with the help of fewer neurons”), analyze new situations faster, and can better predict the outcomes of tasks. Athletes may start off with some advantages, but it’s also true that their brains simply rewire themselves with practice. It’s possible to mimic this “rewiring” effect — electric stimulation of the brain produces similar results — which leads Zimmer to ask a fascinating question: “Would it be cheating for a tennis player to wear a portable electrode as she practiced her serve? She would, after all, just be hastening the same changes that come with ordinary practice.” (HT: Marginal Revolution) [%comments]