Facilitatory effects and behavioral benefits of nonconscious perception on human motor actions

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This review article deals with the facilitatory and beneficial effects of nonconscious perception on motor responses and actions in both primitive and real-world situations. First, the effects of nonconscious perception on motor responses in somatosensory and visual simple reaction time (RT) tasks with backward masking were examined. This showed that simple RTs were facilitated by the perception of given stimuli even if the performers were unaware of them under backward masking. Second, the so-called speed contagion effects on simple motor responses were examined, indicating that a prior observation of another individual's fast motor actions facilitated simple RTs. Finally, evidence for the facilitatory effects of nonconscious perception on real-world situations was examined. This showed that penalty kicks may often be targeted toward the wider space in a goal area subdivided by the standing position of the goalkeeper, despite the lack of conscious awareness of which side was wider. These findings suggest that our perceptual judgment and motor control in both simple/primitive and real-world conditions are probably influenced in part by nonconscious and nonattended perception of stimuli provided in the environment. This is despite the fact that we tend to have the impression that our own behaviors are primarily governed by the conscious awareness of environmental conditions. Nonconscious perception may be primarily involved in our perceptual and motor actions and probably plays a role in advancing motor learning and control in daily activities and sports.


  • The Journal of Physical Fitness and Sports Medicine

    The Journal of Physical Fitness and Sports Medicine 3(2), 255-259, 2014

    The Japanese Society of Physical Fitness and Sports Medicine


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