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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2018, Article ID 9628787, 9 pages
Research Article

Contingent Negative Variation and Working Memory Maintenance in Adolescents with Low and High Motor Competencies

1Department of Sport, Exercise and Health, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
2Department of School Sport, Leipzig University, Leipzig, Germany
3Center for Affective, Stress and Sleep Disorders, Psychiatric Clinics of the University of Basel, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
4Substance Abuse Prevention Research Center and Sleep Disorders Research Center, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences (KUMS), Kermanshah, Iran

Correspondence should be addressed to Sebastian Ludyga; hc.sabinu@agydul.naitsabes

Received 8 January 2018; Revised 31 January 2018; Accepted 12 February 2018; Published 18 April 2018

Academic Editor: Sergio Bagnato

Copyright © 2018 Sebastian Ludyga et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Although it has been suggested that motor and cognitive development is interrelated, the link between motor competencies and neurophysiological indices of working memory operations has not yet been examined in adolescents. This study is aimed at comparing contingent negative variation and working memory performance between adolescents with low and high motor competencies. In eighty-two adolescents, motor competencies were assessed with the MOBAK-5 (basic motor competencies, 5th grade) test battery and a median split was performed on this variable to divide them into low and high performers. Additionally, all participants completed a Sternberg paradigm to assess working memory maintenance. The initial (iCNV) and terminal (tCNV) components of the contingent negative variation elicited by the cognitive task were recorded using electroencephalography. Higher working memory maintenance was found in adolescents with high motor competencies compared to those with low motor competencies. Cluster-based permutation testing further revealed increased iCNV in adolescents with higher motor competencies. In contrast, there was no difference in tCNV between groups. The findings suggest that high working memory maintenance and effective task preparation are both linked to high motor competencies. Thus, high performers on complex motor tasks seem to rely more on a proactive control strategy, which is optimal in tasks with high working memory demands.