Ready, steady, slow! Why top sportsmen might have 'more time' on the ball
A baseball player preparing to strike the ball, from Pierre-Olivier on Flickr
(Medical Xpress)—Professional ball game players report the sensation of the ball 'slowing-down' just before they hit it. Confirming these anecdotal comments, a new study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B shows that time is perceived to slow down during the period of action preparation, as the result of an increased intake of visual information.
The researchers, from UCL's Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, suggest that this brain mechanism might help the player to adapt their planned movement in response to last-minute changes in the game around them.
Precise movements are often accompanied by less sensory awareness, and thus any previous report of the illusion of time slowing down has been associated with the senses overcompensating for this. Here, scientists show for the first time, that time is perceived to slow during the preparation (rather than execution) of a rapid reaching movement involving increased sensory processing.
The researchers asked 56 participants to touch a screen or press a button dependent on specific visual cues. They then had to indicate whether the cue symbol had been displayed for a short or long time (they had received training as to which lengths of time, in control situations, were considered short or long). The experimenters found that the symbols people saw while preparing to move, were perceived to be prolonged, relative to a control condition without movement.
Preparing to reach for the screen increased perceived duration of a visual stimulus. This effect was tightly linked to preparing for action, because time appeared to slow down even more when people were given more instructions about their upcoming movement.
Moreover, participants were able to process the information given by the symbols more quickly, resulting in higher detection rate of rapidly presented symbols. These findings indicate that visual processing during action preparation is accelerated, with direct effects on perception of time.
Dr Nobuhiro Hagura, who led the UCL team, said: "Our experiments showed that the more people prepare for an action, the more dramatically time seems to slow down for them just before they actually begin the action.
"This expansion of time may boost visual parts of the brain, by allowing more processing cycles, generating more information about the situation.
"In a game like tennis or baseball you have to coordinate your actions with quick and unpredictable changes in the flight of the ball. Our brain is tuned for action; when you know you are getting ready to hit the ball it seems that your brain gives you a bit more time to analyse the visual world."
More information: rspb.royalsocietyp… ull.pdf+html
Journal reference: Proceedings of the Royal Society B
Provided by University College London
- Video games shown to improve vision Mar 15, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- 'Curve ball' wins international illusion contest May 26, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Action video games improve vision Mar 29, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Discoveries shed new light on how the brain processes what the eye sees Jun 02, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Brain's timing linked with timescales of the natural visual world Sep 05, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Why is zone 1 in liver more prone to ischemic injury?
May 23, 2013 Hi, Is it because around central vein, there is only deoxygenated blood from the vein where as in the periphery there is hepatic artery. Also why...
How can there be villous adenoma in colon, if there are no villi there
May 22, 2013 As title suggest. Thanks :smile:
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
May 21, 2013 Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
New research presented today shows that formation of new neurons in the hippocampus - a brain region known for its importance in learning and remembering - could cause forgetting of old memories by causing a reorganization ...
Neuroscience May 24, 2013 | 4 / 5 (4) | 0
How can healthy people who hear voices help schizophrenics? Finding the answer for this is at the centre of research conducted at the University of Bergen.
Neuroscience May 24, 2013 | 4 / 5 (2) | 2
One of the major frontiers of modern science is a comprehensive understanding of the human brain and its functions to guide the development of new technologies in information and communication. In a major announcement for ...
Neuroscience May 24, 2013 | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Regulating the distribution of power in neurons is done by a system that makes the national electric grid look simple by comparison. Each neuron has several thousand mitochondria confined ...
Neuroscience May 23, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (10) | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—The human brain is able to identify individuals' voices by comparing them against an internal 'average voice' prototype, according to neuroscientists.
Neuroscience May 23, 2013 | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 3 |
Coenzyme Q10 decreases all cause mortality by half, according to the results of a multicentre randomised double blind trial presented today at Heart Failure 2013 congress. It is the first drug to improve heart failure mortality ...
21 hours ago | 5 / 5 (6) | 5
Heart failure accelerates the aging process and brings on early andropausal syndrome (AS), according to research presented today at the Heart Failure Congress 2013. AS, also referred to as male 'menopause', was four times ...
21 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 1
(HealthDay)—Animals make great companions for senior citizens, but elderly people who always drive with a pet in the car are far more likely to crash than those who never drive with a pet, researchers have ...
13 hours ago | not rated yet | 1
(Medical Xpress)—A research team, led by Jeremy Barr, a biology post-doctoral fellow, unveils a new immune system that protects humans and animals from infection.
May 20, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (31) | 9 |
Until now, little was scientifically known about the human potential to cultivate compassion—the emotional state of caring for people who are suffering in a way that motivates altruistic behavior.
May 22, 2013 | 4.3 / 5 (6) | 6 |
Mortality and length of stay are highest in heart failure patients admitted in January, on Friday, and overnight, according to research presented today at the Heart Failure Congress 2013. The analysis of nearly 1 million ...
21 hours ago | not rated yet | 0