Today we inaugurate a new series here on Sound of Eye by contributor Prof. Grey Herbert called The Science Eye Quarterly, wherein we spotlight scientific research and news events in which the audio-visual realm is either destroyed or reborn in the blink of an eye. Of course, on a daily basis we assume that our own coordination of the audio-visual is true and correct, but when this audio visual axis is placed under the micro or macroscope of science we can begin to see the alarming aura surrounding us that is filled with noise and light. It is this tohu-bohu that we wish to pursue further.
This week a SoE was spotted in the annals of the Public Library of Science in an article titled A Preliminary Investigation Regarding the Effect of Tennis Grunting: Does White Noise During a Tennis Shot have a Negative Impact on Shot Perception? which confirmed the suspicions of many professional tennis players that grunting during a tennis match is detrimental and unfair play since it prevents one’s opponent from “seeing” the ball as it is hit by the racket. There appears to be a visual audio-event that is obfuscated by the grunt and which causes a degree of confusion for the opponent. According to the authors: “It still remains unknown, and it will be very difficult to ascertain, whether many of the most prolific grunters intentionally grunt to interfere with their opponent's performance. Regardless, our data suggest that when they grunt they are gaining an unfair advantage. Our study indicates that grunting not only decreases an opponent's ability to judge the direction of a shot, it also reduces the amount of time they have to respond to every shot. These consequences on faster tennis surfaces, such as the grass courts of Wimbledon, or the hard courts of the Australian and US Open, are likely to be profound.” Watch the video “Sharapova grunts” here.
Kindly contributed by Prof. Grey Herbert