Elite Athletes Refine Their Internal Clocks

in Motor Control
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Evaluating time properly is crucial for everyday activities from fundamental behaviors to refined coordinative movements such as in sport playing. Lately the concept of the existence of a unique internal clock for evaluating time in different scales has been challenged by recent neurophysiology studies. Here we provide evidence that individuals evaluate time durations below and above a second based on two different internal clocks for sub- and suprasecond time ranges: a faster clock for the subsecond range and a slower one for suprasecond time. Interestingly, the level of precision presented by these two clocks can be finely tuned through long-term sport training: Elite athletes, independently from their sport domains, generate better time estimates than nonathletes by showing higher accuracy and lower variability, particularly for subsecond time. We interpret this better time estimation in the short durations as being due to their extraordinary perceptual and motor ability in fast actions.

Chen is with the Research Center for Mind, Brain and Learning, National Chengchi University, Taipei City, Taiwan, and the Dept. of Neurological and Movement Sciences, University of Verona, Verona, Italy. Cesari is with the Dept. of Neurological and Movement Sciences, University of Verona, Verona, Italy.

Address author correspondence to Paola Cesari at paola.cesari@univr.it.
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