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December 7, 2014 AT 1:00 am

Subliminal Cues From Smart Glasses Boost Athletic Performance

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IEEE Spectrum has the story on a potential use for smart glasses as performance enhancing sportswear, following some promising research results.

New research suggests that subliminal cues shown on visual displays can give a significant boost to human performance during endurance exercises.

The small study by researchers at Kent University and Bangor University in the UK may be the first to show that subliminal visual cues—words, pictures, and symbols—can have have an impact on human performance during exercise. Study participants saw the words or small faces used to “prime” their performance appear on a digital screen for less than 0.02 seconds with masking visuals that prevented them from consciously identifying the cues, according to a press release.

One of the study’s experiments showed happy or sad faces to 13 athletes cycling to the point of exhaustion. Those athletes who were exposed to the happy faces ended up cycling almost three minutes longer on average than those exposed to the sad faces.

A second experiment found that “action” words could also prime athletes for better performance compared with “inaction” words on a similar endurance test—an increase in endurance time of six minutes and 39 seconds. Unlike the first experiment, the second experiment used a single subject design that had each individual serve as his or her own control.

Read more.


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