Making Physiology Happen


Nov 2018: Sports Psychology – Music and EEG

iWorx Systems, Inc.
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Featured Experiment

Music plays an important role in sports and exercise. It is a frequent image of sports that athletes are often wearing headphones prior to entering a competition. Music elicits certain feelings and emotions depending on the situation. So how does this apply specifically to sport?

There are five key ways in which music can influence preparation and performance:Exercise and Music

  1. Dissociation – Listening to music can deflect a performer’s attention away from the negative and towards the positive thus lowering the perception of effort. Effective dissociation promotes a positive outlook (vigor and happiness).
  2. Arousal Regulation - Arousal refers to the degree of anxiety and is manifested in both physical and psychological factors. Music can alter emotional and physiological arousal and can be used prior to competition or training to calm anxious feelings. Or, contrarily, athletes can use more upbeat songs to feel more energized and get psyched up.
  3. Synchronization - The tempo of the music can also have an effect on movement. An athlete listening to a fast temp song is likely to increase their movements to a faster pace possibly enhancing performance. The opposite can also be true, slower music can lead to slow pacing and movements.
  4. Acquisition of Motor Skills – Music can help to replicate aspects of human movement. It can aid in the ability to take a person through effective movement patterns. Music can also promote intrinsic motivation and in a learning environment, can make it more fun for the players and promote learning.
  5. Attainment of Flow - Flow is sometimes referred to as being “in the zone”. This is a state where during physical activity the mind and body function on ‘auto-pilot’ with minimal conscious effort. Research has shown that interventions that include self-selected music and imagery performance could enhance athletic performance by triggering certain emotions and thoughts associated with the activity.

Sport psychologists have advised athletes to use music as tool in preparation for competition. This is due to the fact that music will influence arousal if it promotes thoughts that encourage physical activity or relaxation. The association between certain types of music and physical activity may act as a stimulus and boost performance..

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