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This study assessed whether cognitive stimulations could improve running performance. Nine trained men (22.6 ± 2.1 years old) performed four tests of stamina i) a control test (CT) at 100% of maximal aerobic velocity without any specific attention instructions, ii) a video self modeling test filmed from behind (VB), where runners attended to a video-loop of themselves, iii) a video self modeling test filmed from the front (VF), and iv) a video of landscapes (VL) with music. The results revealed a significant increase (p = .004) of stamina in all video conditions: VB (235 ± 59 s); VF (229 ± 53 s); VL (242 ± 57 s), compared with CT (182 ± 33 s). The results showed that the oxygen consumption was significantly lower (p = .02) in VB. Two distinct processes could explain these results including the active role of mirror neurons and the influence of music.
Gonzales, Hagin, and Groslambert are with the Laboratory Culture, Sports, Health and Society, University of Franche-Comté, Besançon, France. Dowrick is with the Psychology Dept., University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.