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The Power of Auditory-Motor Synchronization in Sports: Enhancing Running Performance by Coupling Cadence with the Right Beats

Bood, Robert Jan; Nijssen, Marijn; van der Kamp, John; Roerdink, Melvyn
Fonte: Public Library of Science Publicador: Public Library of Science
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
Publicado em 07/08/2013 EN
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Acoustic stimuli, like music and metronomes, are often used in sports. Adjusting movement tempo to acoustic stimuli (i.e., auditory-motor synchronization) may be beneficial for sports performance. However, music also possesses motivational qualities that may further enhance performance. Our objective was to examine the relative effects of auditory-motor synchronization and the motivational impact of acoustic stimuli on running performance. To this end, 19 participants ran to exhaustion on a treadmill in 1) a control condition without acoustic stimuli, 2) a metronome condition with a sequence of beeps matching participants’ cadence (synchronization), and 3) a music condition with synchronous motivational music matched to participants’ cadence (synchronization+motivation). Conditions were counterbalanced and measurements were taken on separate days. As expected, time to exhaustion was significantly longer with acoustic stimuli than without. Unexpectedly, however, time to exhaustion did not differ between metronome and motivational music conditions, despite differences in motivational quality. Motivational music slightly reduced perceived exertion of sub-maximal running intensity and heart rates of (near-)maximal running intensity. The beat of the stimuli –which was most salient during the metronome condition– helped runners to maintain a consistent pace by coupling cadence to the prescribed tempo. Thus...