Imagined Carbohydrate Sensing in the Human Mouth

William Lu
Yeshiva University

Exercise enthusiasts across the world have at one point or another wondered how they could somehow boost endurance during training sessions. A recent study by Chambers, Bridge, and Jones (2009) showed that cyclists swishing around a carbohydrate solution in their mouth significantly improved performance by activating reward and motor control regions of the brain.

The impetus for my own preliminary study was fueled by a motivation to be less slothful and finally go out for a jog. I wanted to see if I could ditch the whole swishing of the carbohydrate solution altogether and improve performance by just vividly imagining drinking a refreshing plastic bottle of Gatorade whenever I felt I was about to give up(it should be noted that the last time I jogged was more than a couple of months ago).



N = 1

Subject jogged around the Central Park Reservoir for as long as possible. When subject became exhausted he instructed himself to visually imagine taking a sip of his favorite Gatorade drink.

Expected jog time.


Subject jogged significantly longer than expected.


It's possible that my vivid imagination tricked my very own brain into believing that it was receiving a carbohydrate solution, activating the reward and motor control regions when in fact it was receiving nothing at all. Before disregarding this conclusion as pure rubbish try it out for yourself the next time you go for a jog. This alternative may be much more appealing than mimicing chipmunk out in public.


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