Previous findings have reported that track and field athletes may monitor and utilize internal information, including anxiety level, suggesting that the ability to inwardly monitor one's own functioning and utilize anxiety are required to achieve superior performance. Performance monitoring has been investigated using two event-related potential components; the error (-related) negativity (Ne/ERN) and error positivity (Pe). It is unknown whether performance monitoring differs among various types of athletes. It has also been reported that Ne/ERN amplitude is increased in individuals who are more anxious and the prevalence and effect of anxiety also differs among various types of athletes. In this study, we recorded both Ne/ERN and Pe from long-distance runners (n = 24) and sprinters (n = 24) while they were performing a spatial Stroop task under motivation and no motivation conditions. We also collected scores on the Sport Competitive Anxiety Test (SCAT). Mean error rate on incongruent trials was lower in the motivation condition than in the no motivation condition. There was neither group effect, nor condition effect found in Ne/ERN amplitude. However, for the long-distance runners, Pe amplitude was larger in the motivation condition than in the no motivation condition. We also investigated the relationships between Ne/ERNs and individual differences in performance anxiety using the SCAT. A multiple linear regression analysis in the motivation condition revealed an interaction between type of runner and SCAT scores, indicating that long-distance runners with higher SCAT scores showed larger Ne/ERN amplitudes whereas the sprinters with high SCAT scores tended to exhibit smaller Ne/ERN amplitudes. Our findings provide further evidence that performance monitoring differs across various types of athletes.
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