Publications & Researches
My dissertation (2021). Executive Functions and successful behavior. Link >>
Natural selection sometimes paraphrased as “Survival of the fittest” is a cornerstone in the theory of evolution. An important aspect of survival throughout evolution is the ability to adapt to the demands of constantly changing or novel environments. Such adaptation is associated with a more dynamic behavior and seems to be especially prominent in primates. A key component for human primates to meet these demands on adaptive behavior is self- regulation. Humans need to be successful in the competition with other species and with other humans in order to survive. Evolution seems to have favored the development of cognitive processes that are involved in self-regulation.
Self-regulation on a behavioral level should be mirrored in top-down regulatory mechanisms on an information processing level. Thus, the capacity of such cognitive regulation should be essential in order to accomplish different goals in a constantly changing environment. Especially when the flow of information is fast it becomes crucial that the brain has the ability to quickly regulate information processing.
The underlying functions of self-regulation are called executive functions.
Vestberg, T., Tedeholm P., Ingvar, M., Larsson A., & Petrovic, P. (2021). Executive Functions of Swedish Counterterror Intervention Unit Applicants and Police Officer Trainees Evaluated With Design Fluency Test. Frontiers in Psychology. Link >>
In my latest study I focus on the cognitive capacity of the executive functions when a person is under heavy stress. The study is made on subjects related to special forces and the test group was in a very good physical shape. The results showed positive correlation between the baseline results of fluent creativity and flexibility and the repeated test results the subjects made when they were under extreme stress. The physical shape of the individuals did not influence the result. However, the individuals with the best result on baseline dropped most in capacity when they were under heavy pressure. Could it be because of an "overdose" on dopamine?
Vestberg, T., Jafari, R., Almeida, R., Maurex, L., Ingvar, M., & Petrovic, P. (2020). Level of play and coach-rated game intelligence are related to performance on design fluency in elite soccer players. Scientific Reports (Nature). 12 citations (June 2022). Link >>
In this study we showed that soccer players on national team level had higher capacity on their fluent creativity and flexibility compared with their team mates playing "only" on the "highest elite level. We also showed that the players' fluent creativity and flexibility correlates with their coaches assessment of the players' game intelligence. Finely we could reproduced the results from a previous study that showed a correlation between the players fluently creativity and assist making.
in Socialsciences.nature.com, you can read an article about this study written by my colleague Dr Predrag Petrovic Link >>
Vestberg, T., Reinebo G., Maurex L., Ingvar, M., & Petrovic, P. (2017). CORE EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH SUCCESS IN YOUNG ELITE SOCCER PLAYERS. PLoS ONE. 129 citations (June 2022). Link >>
In this study we showed that the capacity core executive functions correlates positive with success in soccer measured in goal, from twelve years old.
A good article in DN about the study. Link >>
Vestberg, T., Gustafson, R., Maurex L., Ingvar, M., & Petrovic, P. (2012). EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS PREDICT THE SUCCESS OF TOP-SOCCER PLAYERS PLoS ONE. 352 citations (June 2022). Link >>
This research resonated world-wide: The Times, The Independent, The New York Times, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, La Van Guardia, La Repubblica, Der Standard etc. covered the research with full page articles. BCC World and SKY News aired interviews. Hundreds of newspapers from all over the world including India, Pakistan, Chile, Argentine, Vietnam and the Philippines wrote about the Study. In Sweden the two biggest newspapers, Dagens Nyheter och Svenska Dagbladet, covered the study with two full page articles. It was one of the leading sport news items in Spring 2012 and one of the most high profile research topics from Karolinska University 2012.
Links to media comments about my reserach;
CNN, Dagens Industri, Daily Mail, Dagens Nyheter, Huffington Post, La Gazzetta dello Sport, La Repubblica, La Vanguardia, Le Monde, Mundo Deportivo, Politiken, Svenska Dagbladet, SVT, The New York Times, The Independent, The Globe & Mail, The Sun, The Times, The Telegraph, Wall Street Journal
I undertook my research together with Associate Professor M.D. Predrag Petrovic, Professor Martin Ingvar and the Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
HJÄRNBOLL... Fotbollsspelares okända intelligens
In my book, ”Hjärnboll, fotbollsspelare okända intelligens” that I wrote together with my friends associate professor Predrag Petrovic and Thomas Learner, journalist at DN, Sweden's largest daily newspaper, you will have i brief introduction about the executive function and how the cognition works in soccer. It also reveals which executive profiles are needed in different roles on a pitch. Link >>
KREATIVTRAINING IM FUßALL ... vom Kopf in den Fuß gespielt
I wrote this book together with Matthias Nowak, technique Coach for FC Bayern Munich, women's team. In the the book we explain how the Executive functions work in football and give instructions how to develop them through different specific football exercises. Link >>
"SOCCER PLAYERS HAVE THE HIGHEST ABILITY TO ADJUST"
Lately I visited Malou von Sivers talk show Malou efter 10 on TV4 and talked about my research. Link >>
"FOTBOLL SPELAS MED HJÄRNAN"
An interview on TV 4, Nyhetsmorgon, about the Executive function/Game intelligence, and why the brain's ability better assumes success in football than what the foot does.
MIRACLE BODY... I was participated in a science program produced by NHK (Japanese Television). Using the D-KEFS I tested the executive functions of the FC Barcelona players Xavi and Iniesta. Based on the test results, I explain why they are the world's best midfield pair. Here you can get a glimpse of when I work together with Xavi.
LAGET SOM ÄR SMARTAST VINNER. Taktikpodden 57. 2020 09 18. Link >>
HAR SVENSKA LANDSLAGET TILLRÄCKLIGT BRA HJÄRNOR FÖR VM? SR P4, Kossornas planet 2018 06 22. Link >>
VARFÖR ÄR ZLATAN SÅ BRA PÅ FOTBOLL? Det sitter i frontaloben... P4 Extra 2018 05 03. Link >>
SÅ INTELLIGENTA ÄR FOTBOLLSSPELARE... P1 morgon med Daniel Alling. 2018 04 26. Link >>
SÅ FUNKAR ZLATANS HJÄRNA UNDER EN MATCH... SR, VETENSKAPSRADIONS VECKOMAGASIN. 2016 06 10. Link >>
HOLMGREN MÖTER... TORBJÖRN VESTBERG. 2017. LINK >>
SPELARNAS OKÄNDA INTELLIGENS. Modern psykologi 20180904 Link >>
FOTBOLLSHJÄRNAN KARTLAGD. BARA 2 av 100 på supernivå. SvD 20180618 Link >>
DÄRFÖR ÄR FOTBOLLSSTJÄRNORNAS HJÄRNOR ANNORLUNDA. DN 20180614 Link >>
PSYKOLOG HAR MÅLT FOTBALLSTJERNERS "UKJENTE INTELLIGENS". Khrono 20180614 Link >>
HUR FUNGERAR EN FOTBOLLSHJÄRNA? MEDICINSK VETENSKAP. 2018 nr 2. Link >>
JÄRNKOLL PÅ FOTBOLL. KI NYHETER Link >>
IDROTTARE MED HJÄRNKOLL... IDROTT & KUNSKAP. 2016. LINK >>
MÄT HJÄRNANS FAKTISKA FÖRMÅGA... PERSONAL & LEDARSKAP. 2017. LINK >>
THE SCIENTIFIC SECRET TO SUCCESS AT EURO 2016... NEWSWEEK, 2016 06 20. Link >>
ARE WE A STEP CLOSER TO BEING ABLE TO MEASURE FOOTBALL IQ?... THE GUARDIAN. 2016 12 05. Link >>
ELITFOTBOLL STÄLLER STORA KRAV PÅ HJÄRNANS FÖRMÅGOR... DAGENS NYHETER, INSIDAN. 2016 06 08. Link >>
BORTA BRA MEN HEMMA SVÅRARE... Chefstidningen nr. 4, 2013
DE SKICKADE MIG TILL XAVI OCH INIESTA... Fotbollslivet,
Hur kunde den kantige Roland Sandberg göra så många mål?
En svensk psykolog har svaret. Offside nr. 2, 2014. Link >>
Doctor in Medical Science Karolinska Institutet. Department of Clinical Neuroscience. Supervisors were associate professor Predrag Petrovic and professor Martin Ingvar. Link to the dissertation >>
Graduated from the Psychologist Programme at the University of Orebro, Sweden, ranked by Centre For Higher Education Development as one of the top universities for psychological studies in the EU and the best in Sweden. Link >>
MSc, Psychology from the University of Orebro. Link >>
University degree in Theology from Stockholm School of Theology. Link >>
In accordance with Swedish Law license to practice by The National Board of Health and Welfare. Link >>
Accredited as Mental Coach to work with elite athletes by The Swedish Sport Confederation. Link >>
Member of the Swedish Psychological Association Link >>