The Impact of Visual and Acoustic Stimuli on Judgments, Decision-Making, and Athletic Performance

Sport science has revealed that subtle visual and acoustic stimuli may affect athletic performance and decision-making of athletes, coaches, and referees. These stimuli typically exert their influence without conscious intention or awareness. In this regard, researchers have showed that, among others, uniform color, crowd noise, and odorous substances may have an impact on athletes’/coaches’/referees’ self-efficacy, decisions, goal setting, and overall performance.

This evidence has potential in helping to understand the underlying cognitive mechanism of decision-making and athletic performance. We thus explore how external cues may unconsciously affect important mental processes in sports.