In the long running Sports Science series, the show takes a look at a variety of topics to analyze various things such as how hard a football hits another player, if sliding head first into first base is quicker than feet first and even how an athlete’s body reacts to extreme cold weather.
In this video, SS examines the age old question of if the noise and distractions created by fans, actually has an impact on the result of a game. And there were eyebrow raising facts that surfaced from the video.
A coordinated field of background movement (such as waving thundersticks in unison while an opposing team is taking a free throw) has shown to cause an observers movements to drift in that same direction.
In other words, if the crow waves their arms in the same motion, you could sway the direction of the free throw.
Skeptical? Well over 3 game span, Dallas Mav’s fans were instructed to perform the coordinated moves and this specific study showed the moves affected the amount of free throw shots made by 8%.
Doesn’t sound like much, but 8% is still 8 friggin percent.
But even if visual distractions seem to work, its the audio distractions that could really pull off the desired effect.
Because even though sound travels slower than light, our brains process sound 50x faster than vision. In the video, SS says research has shown that sound over 85 decibels can cause fatigue and irritability. And with most basketball arenas averaging over 120 decibels, that’s the equivalent of standing by a jet engine.
This is also keeping in mind that during a time like March Madness, 18-22 year old kids are trying to win a championship where these kind of audio and visual distractions occur every single game.
Even though the NCAA says these distractions have less than a 1% effect on the game, not one fan will be saying “oh shucks” at that stat.
Fans will always continue to look for reasons to help their team out in any possible way and this bit of actual scientific evidence to back up their efforts will only scream louder and coordinate more effectivily during the upcoming March Madness season.