Brains and brawn go together more often than you may think. That's the takeaway from a new study which found that elite athletes performed better at cognitive tasks than their non-athletic counterparts.
Researchers at the University of Illinois subjected 87 top Brazilian volleyball players, including Olympic medalists, to a battery of memory and cognitive tests, and compared their results to a control group, and found that the athletes scored better on all but one of the activities.
"We found that athletes were generally able to inhibit behavior, to stop quickly when they had to, which is very important in sport and daily life," said psychology professor Arthur Kramer, who led the study. "They were also able to activate, to pick up information from a glance, and to switch between tasks more quickly than non-athletes." Kramer said the findings support the idea that spending years on a single athletic activity can have mental benefits as well.