Research Shows Athletes React Better to Visual Stimuli

Reaction time is very important in individual sports such as athletics or swimming, where a faster start can make a big difference in competition. In 2011, researchers from the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM) showed that the reaction time of athletes is less with visual stimuli than sound.

The research involved 79 athletes and students from the Faculty of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences at the Technical University of Madrid (UPM), of whom 59 were men and 20 women. The test consisted of pressing a key on a computer before four visual stimuli and four sound stimuli. The visual stimulus was a green circle on a white background and the sound stimulus was the digitalized sound of a horn with an intensity of 92.4 decibels.

The results of this research can be important for hearing people, but also for deaf people because it shows that "the light device would help the adaptation to the athletic starting system to allow an inclusive competition".

The First Deaf Person With a Ph.D. in Sports Sciences in Spain

This study is part of the research on the same issue by Javier Soto Rey, the first deaf person in Spain to receive a PhD in Physical Activity and Sports Sciences in February 2016, as well as a distinction of Cum Laude.

Javier Soto during his Ph.D., the fourth person from the bottom (photo: FEDS)

Javier Soto is also a very notable athlete, who has achieved numerous prizes in competitions and several awards as the best Segovian sportsman of 1997 and the Award 'Human Values in Sport' by Spanish National Radio (RNE) and Regional Government of Castilla y León in 2005. We cannot forget that Javier has participated in four Deaflympics, in which he has won four Olympic medals: gold in Rome 2001, silver in Copenhagen 1997 and Melbourne 2005, and bronze in Copenhagen 1997.

Undoubtedly, it is a clear example of how Deaf people contribute, from their perspective of the world, with new knowledge that can be useful for the rest of society. In the following video he gives an interview and tells about some of his sporting experiences (in Spanish Sign Language):

  • Soto Rey, J. (2016). Evaluación del tiempo de reacción en velocistas con y sin discapacidad auditiva: aplicaciones para la inclusión (Doctoral Dissertation, Sciences). Retrieved from [Evaluation of reaction time in hearing-impaired and hearing-impaired sprinters: applications for inclusion]
  • Tejero, J. P., Soto-Rey, J., & Rojo-González, J. J. (2011). Estudio del tiempo de reacción ante estímulos sonoros y visuales. European Journal of Human Movement, (27), 149-162. Retrieved from [Study of reaction time to sound and visual stimuli]
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