Feedback-related electroencephalogram oscillations of athletes with high and low sports anxiety

Hiroaki Masaki*, Takahiro Hirao, Yuya Maruo, Dan Foti, Greg Hajcak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated the relationship between performance-related anxiety and the neural response to error feedback that was delivered during the execution of a time estimation task. Using the Sport Anxiety Scale (SAS-2), we selected university athletes high and low in sports anxiety. Participants executed a time estimation task where they were instructed to estimate 1 s by pressing a button after a sound cue. They performed this task while their performance was being evaluated by an experimenter (evaluation condition) and also while alone (in a no-evaluation condition). We tested whether feedback-related brain activities may increase in amplitude in the evaluation condition compared to the control condition - especially for athletes who report high performance-related anxiety. We focused on oscillations of sub-delta, delta, and theta frequency bands phase-locked to the feedback onset. Time-frequency analyses revealed that the magnitude of both the sub-delta component (0.3-1.2 Hz) and the theta component (4-8 Hz) were larger in incorrect than correct trials. In addition, the theta component was smaller for athletes high in sports anxiety than for athletes low in sports anxiety. The delta component was overall larger for correct than incorrect feedback. Further, athletes high in sports anxiety exhibited a larger delta component (1.5-3.5 Hz) for correct feedback in the evaluation condition than in the no-evaluation condition. Our results suggest that evaluation by others may increase the delta oscillation associated with correct feedback processing - especially among athletes high in sports anxiety.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1420
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberAUG
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Aug 28


  • Choking under pressure
  • Delta oscillation
  • Feedback-related negativity
  • Performance monitoring
  • Sports anxiety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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