Introduction: The esports industry is rapidly expanding, making it imperative to identify common data elements of expert gamers for the purposes of performance optimization and enhancement. We aimed to measure cognitive performance in a convenient sample of expert esports athletes, as well as to determine if cognitive performance of these individuals could be further enhanced through a novel non-gaming neurocognitive test battery.
Methods: Elite esports athletes (n = 5) participated in a four-day cognitive and strength & conditioning program at the Sports Academy (Thousand Oaks, CA). Cognitive performance was assessed through five tasks of increasing cognitive load. Baseline testing occurred on Day 1, followed by two hours of cognitive training at high cognitive load on Days 2 and 3, and re-testing on Day 4.
Results: During re-test on Day 4, Cognitive performance was improved during re-testing compared to baseline on all tasks of increasing cognitive load. Spatially oriented tasks showed the largest enhancement.
Conclusions: The present study identified baseline cognitive performance and reported performance enhancement through non-gaming cognitive tasks in expert esports athletes on Day 4, even after high-intensity physical training. Although the esports athletes improved on all cognitive tasks, we cannot conclude this has a direct transferability to actual game-play performance, which was not examined in the present case study. Future studies should focus on underlying neurophysiological mechanisms to predict future performance and develop an accession/selection tool in a sport with exponential growth.
Brager, Allison J.; Belling, Patrick; Sada, Jason; Osgood, Jeffrey; Fawver, Bradley; and Dretsch, Michael
"Pilot testing of a non-gaming cognitive battery in expert esports athletes,"
Journal for Sports Neuroscience: Vol. 1:
2, Article 11.
Available at: https://nsuworks.nova.edu/neurosports/vol1/iss2/11