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Tennis grunting: Study reveals surprising effects

Date:
October 4, 2010
Source:
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Summary:
You've heard them at tennis matches -- a loud, emphatic grunt with each player's stroke. A researcher has studied the impact of these grunts and come up with some surprising findings.

A recent study examined the potential detrimental effect that tennis grunting has on shot perception during a tennis match.
Credit: iStockphoto/Marilyn Nieves

You've heard them at tennis matches -- a loud, emphatic grunt with each player's stroke. A University of Hawai'i at Mānoa researcher has studied the impact of these grunts and come up with some surprising findings.

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Scott Sinnett, assistant psychology professor at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, has co-authored a study on the potential detrimental effect that noise has on shot perception during a tennis match.

Sinnett's work appears in the October 1 online issue of PLoS ONE, published by the Public Library of Science. He co-authored the study with Alan Kingstone, psychology professor at the University of British Columbia, to determine if it is reasonable to conclude that a tennis grunt interferes with an opponent's performance.

As part of the study, thirty-three undergraduate students from the University of British Columbia viewed videos of a tennis player hitting a ball to either side of a tennis court; the shot either did or did not contain a brief sound that occurred at the same time as contact.

Participants were required to respond as quickly and accurately as possible, indicating the direction of the shot in each video clip on a keyboard. The extraneous sound resulted in significantly slower response times, and significantly more decision errors, confirming that both response time and accuracy are negatively affected.

"This is the first study to look at the issue of grunting in tennis. Our current work is also looking at how advanced and professional tennis players perform, to determine if they have developed any strategies to limit the negative effects of a grunting opponent," said Sinnett.

While these findings must still be validated on the tennis court, Sinnett and Kingstone noted that these consequences on faster tennis surfaces, such as the grass courts of Wimbledon or hard courts of the Australian and U.S. Open, are likely to be profound.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Hawaii at Manoa. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Scott Sinnett, Alan Kingstone, Warren H. Meck. A Preliminary Investigation Regarding the Effect of Tennis Grunting: Does White Noise During a Tennis Shot Have a Negative Impact on Shot Perception? PLoS ONE, 2010; 5 (10): e13148 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0013148

Cite This Page:

University of Hawaii at Manoa. "Tennis grunting: Study reveals surprising effects." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101003081714.htm>.
University of Hawaii at Manoa. (2010, October 4). Tennis grunting: Study reveals surprising effects. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101003081714.htm
University of Hawaii at Manoa. "Tennis grunting: Study reveals surprising effects." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101003081714.htm (accessed January 28, 2015).

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