Do you find yourself thinking that your rival team play terribly all the time? When an individual player gets bad press, do you find yourself scrutinising their performance unfavourably? According to the Brain and Creativity Institute at USC, whether we like someone affects how our brain processes their actions.
When we watch another person move, the parts of our brain responsible for motor (movement) skills are activated. This is known as a ‘mirroring’ effect. New research has now discovered that if we like/ dislike the person we are watching it can affect brain activity related to motor actions and lead to ‘differential processing’. Basically, your perception of movement is warped by your feelings toward that person.
Past research has also shown that physical similarity can influence brain processes, and we tend to have more empathy for people who look more like us (how very vain)!
You know that guy who wanders around the gym offering technique advice nobody asked for? (if you don’t know this person, it might be you). Keeping this new research in mind, it may be worth noting that while somebody’s technique may look bad to you, this is not necessarily the case. It may be that you have taken a dislike to them so their movements look awful only to you! In any case, there is support for trying new movements in order to shock the muscles, helping to increase size and strength gains so it may be worth a try!
Take home message: The more people like us; the more awesome they will think we are in the gym and the less likely they are to come up to us offering advice. However, they may hover around your machine, admiring your work and asking you where you get your supplements from!