Neural, mood, and endocrine responses in elite athletes relative to successful and failed performance videos

Henry Davis IV, Sari M. van Anders, Elton T. Ngan, Todd S. Woodward, Jared X. Van Snellenberg, Helen S. Mayberg, Mario Liotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


In this follow-up study, self-referential videos of success and failure were used for mood provocation to investigate mood, neural, and endocrine activity among 26 internationally competitive athletes using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and salivary hormone measures. The initial sample of 14 athletes who had experienced career-threatening failure was contrasted to 12 athletes with exceptional success. Endocrine data were added to the preliminary report to round Hap Davis is in private practice at 354, 401-9th Avenue SW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. T2P 3C5, E-mail: Sari van Anders is with the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan. Todd Woodward and Elton Ngan are with the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Jared Van Snellenberg is with the Department of Psychology at Columbia University in New York. Helen Mayberg is a professor of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences and Neurology at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA. Mario Liotti is with the Department of Psychology at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby BC, Canada. out a psychoneuroendocrinology perspective on success and failure. On-line and prepost mood ratings confrmed successful mood provocation. fMRI BOLD signals revealed signifcantly greater activation in right premotor cortex and left sensorimotor cortices following self-reference video for successful athletes than (previously reported) failed athletes. Percentage gains in the ratio of testosterone to cortisol from Time 1 to Time 2 among success athletes positively correlated with right premotor cortex BOLD activity. Overall, the results suggest that affect associated with self-reference corresponds to an integrated neural and endocrine response to competitive challenge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-21
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Clinical Sport Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Athlete
  • Cortisol
  • FMRI
  • Mood
  • Self-reference
  • Testosterone


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