The influence of acute sprint exercise on cognition, gaming performance, and cortical hemodynamics in esports players and age-matched controls

Mancı E., Gençtürk U., Güdücü Ç., Günay E., Herold F., Bediz C. Ş.

CURRENT PSYCHOLOGY, vol.43, pp.1-12, 2024 (SSCI)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 43
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s12144-024-05750-x
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, IBZ Online, BIOSIS, Business Source Elite, Business Source Premier, Psycinfo
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-12
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


The relationship between esports and cognitive performance has recently gained increasing interest in the scientific community. However, our knowledge of the effects of acute sprint exercise (SE) on game performance and cognitive performance of esports players (as compared to age-matched controls) is scant. To address this gap, this study using a between-subjects design with pretest-posttest comparisons recruited amateur esports players aged between 18 and 35 years, and healthy age-matched controls who did not play esports games. The participants performed the Go/No-go test, Tracking Test, and the First Person Shooter (FPS) game Valorant immediately before and 5 and 30 min after SE. In addition to the behavioral performance, changes in the cortical hemodynamics of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) were recorded before and after the acute physical exercise while playing Valorant using functional near-infrared spectroscopy. The results show that amateur esports players have superior performance in both game performance (p < .001) and specific measures of cognitive performance (i.e., Tracking Test, p < .05), regardless of the sessions. After the acute physical exercise, the gaming performance in both groups improved, and amateur esports players showed a higher accuracy in the Go/No-go task 30 min after SE. Regarding PFC cortical hemodynamics, no significant difference was noticed in the oxygenation values of both groups between pre and post tests, and between-group differences (p > .05). In conclusion, our study provides evidence that (i) amateur esports players have superior cognitive performance in specific domains and (ii) an acute bout of physical exercise can increase the gaming performance of both amateur esports players and healthy age-matched controls.