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It's not all in your car: functional and structural correlates of exceptional driving skills in professional racers.

Bernardi G, Cecchetti L, Handjaras G, Sani L, Gaglianese A, Ceccarelli R, Franzoni F, Galetta F, Santoro G, Goebel R, Ricciardi E, Pietrini P - Front Hum Neurosci (2014)

Bottom Line: Moreover, some of these brain regions, including the retrosplenial cortex, also had an increased gray matter density in professional car drivers.Furthermore, the retrosplenial cortex, which has been previously associated with the storage of observer-independent spatial maps, revealed a specific correlation with the individual driver's success in official competitions.These findings indicate that the brain functional and structural organization in highly trained racing-car drivers differs from that of subjects with an ordinary driving experience, suggesting that specific anatomo-functional changes may subtend the attainment of exceptional driving performance.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Laboratory of Clinical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Department of Experimental Pathology, Medical Biotechnologies, Infectivology and Epidemiology, University of Pisa Pisa, Italy ; Clinical Psychology Branch, University of Pisa, Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria Pisana, Santa Chiara Pisa, Italy.

ABSTRACT
Driving is a complex behavior that requires the integration of multiple cognitive functions. While many studies have investigated brain activity related to driving simulation under distinct conditions, little is known about the brain morphological and functional architecture in professional competitive driving, which requires exceptional motor and navigational skills. Here, 11 professional racing-car drivers and 11 "naïve" volunteers underwent both structural and functional brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Subjects were presented with short movies depicting a Formula One car racing in four different official circuits. Brain activity was assessed in terms of regional response, using an Inter-Subject Correlation (ISC) approach, and regional interactions by mean of functional connectivity. In addition, voxel-based morphometry (VBM) was used to identify specific structural differences between the two groups and potential interactions with functional differences detected by the ISC analysis. Relative to non-experienced drivers, professional drivers showed a more consistent recruitment of motor control and spatial navigation devoted areas, including premotor/motor cortex, striatum, anterior, and posterior cingulate cortex and retrosplenial cortex, precuneus, middle temporal cortex, and parahippocampus. Moreover, some of these brain regions, including the retrosplenial cortex, also had an increased gray matter density in professional car drivers. Furthermore, the retrosplenial cortex, which has been previously associated with the storage of observer-independent spatial maps, revealed a specific correlation with the individual driver's success in official competitions. These findings indicate that the brain functional and structural organization in highly trained racing-car drivers differs from that of subjects with an ordinary driving experience, suggesting that specific anatomo-functional changes may subtend the attainment of exceptional driving performance.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Contrast between ISC-values of naïve and professional drivers. The dark/light blue color indicates a higher correlation value in the naïve drivers, while red/yellow colors indicate a higher correlation in the professional drivers (p < 0.01, FDR corrected, minimum cluster size is set to 30 voxels).
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Figure 2: Contrast between ISC-values of naïve and professional drivers. The dark/light blue color indicates a higher correlation value in the naïve drivers, while red/yellow colors indicate a higher correlation in the professional drivers (p < 0.01, FDR corrected, minimum cluster size is set to 30 voxels).

Mentions: The contrast carried out between the two groups revealed a significantly stronger correlation (p < 0.01, FDR corrected) in professional drivers, as compared to naïve drivers, in bilateral cingulate cortex and posterior cingulate, precuneus, parahippocampal, supramarginal, middle temporal, middle, and inferior frontal cortex, and caudate nucleus, left anterior cingulate cortex, medial frontal, and thalamus, right superior frontal and precentral cortex, lentiform nucleus, and cerebellum (Figure 2; Supplementary Table S1). On the other hand, naïve drivers showed stronger correlations only in the left middle occipital cortex.


It's not all in your car: functional and structural correlates of exceptional driving skills in professional racers.

Bernardi G, Cecchetti L, Handjaras G, Sani L, Gaglianese A, Ceccarelli R, Franzoni F, Galetta F, Santoro G, Goebel R, Ricciardi E, Pietrini P - Front Hum Neurosci (2014)

Contrast between ISC-values of naïve and professional drivers. The dark/light blue color indicates a higher correlation value in the naïve drivers, while red/yellow colors indicate a higher correlation in the professional drivers (p < 0.01, FDR corrected, minimum cluster size is set to 30 voxels).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4227572&req=5

Figure 2: Contrast between ISC-values of naïve and professional drivers. The dark/light blue color indicates a higher correlation value in the naïve drivers, while red/yellow colors indicate a higher correlation in the professional drivers (p < 0.01, FDR corrected, minimum cluster size is set to 30 voxels).
Mentions: The contrast carried out between the two groups revealed a significantly stronger correlation (p < 0.01, FDR corrected) in professional drivers, as compared to naïve drivers, in bilateral cingulate cortex and posterior cingulate, precuneus, parahippocampal, supramarginal, middle temporal, middle, and inferior frontal cortex, and caudate nucleus, left anterior cingulate cortex, medial frontal, and thalamus, right superior frontal and precentral cortex, lentiform nucleus, and cerebellum (Figure 2; Supplementary Table S1). On the other hand, naïve drivers showed stronger correlations only in the left middle occipital cortex.

Bottom Line: Moreover, some of these brain regions, including the retrosplenial cortex, also had an increased gray matter density in professional car drivers.Furthermore, the retrosplenial cortex, which has been previously associated with the storage of observer-independent spatial maps, revealed a specific correlation with the individual driver's success in official competitions.These findings indicate that the brain functional and structural organization in highly trained racing-car drivers differs from that of subjects with an ordinary driving experience, suggesting that specific anatomo-functional changes may subtend the attainment of exceptional driving performance.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Laboratory of Clinical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Department of Experimental Pathology, Medical Biotechnologies, Infectivology and Epidemiology, University of Pisa Pisa, Italy ; Clinical Psychology Branch, University of Pisa, Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria Pisana, Santa Chiara Pisa, Italy.

ABSTRACT
Driving is a complex behavior that requires the integration of multiple cognitive functions. While many studies have investigated brain activity related to driving simulation under distinct conditions, little is known about the brain morphological and functional architecture in professional competitive driving, which requires exceptional motor and navigational skills. Here, 11 professional racing-car drivers and 11 "naïve" volunteers underwent both structural and functional brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Subjects were presented with short movies depicting a Formula One car racing in four different official circuits. Brain activity was assessed in terms of regional response, using an Inter-Subject Correlation (ISC) approach, and regional interactions by mean of functional connectivity. In addition, voxel-based morphometry (VBM) was used to identify specific structural differences between the two groups and potential interactions with functional differences detected by the ISC analysis. Relative to non-experienced drivers, professional drivers showed a more consistent recruitment of motor control and spatial navigation devoted areas, including premotor/motor cortex, striatum, anterior, and posterior cingulate cortex and retrosplenial cortex, precuneus, middle temporal cortex, and parahippocampus. Moreover, some of these brain regions, including the retrosplenial cortex, also had an increased gray matter density in professional car drivers. Furthermore, the retrosplenial cortex, which has been previously associated with the storage of observer-independent spatial maps, revealed a specific correlation with the individual driver's success in official competitions. These findings indicate that the brain functional and structural organization in highly trained racing-car drivers differs from that of subjects with an ordinary driving experience, suggesting that specific anatomo-functional changes may subtend the attainment of exceptional driving performance.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus