Alexander Graham Bell once said, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”
Whether you’re preparing for a big presentation, a job interview or about to run a big race, your level of preparation can dramatically influence your level of success.
But did you know that most of our movements are often prepared in the brain well in advance of the time we intend to initiate an action? In some instances, the planning process in the brain begins as much as two seconds ahead of time and slowly increases until the initiation of movement.
In a new study in PLOS ONE, University of Minnesota neurophysiologist Colum MacKinnon, Ph.D., demonstrates that if a loud sound occurs during the brain’s planning process, it can result in rapid and involuntary release of the intended action. In some cases, the complete movement is released as much as 1.5 seconds before the intended timing of movement initiation. The closer the timing of the loud sound got to the “go” signal, the more difficult it became to suppress the involuntary initiation.