OBJECTIVE. To investigate whether the performance of a multisegment motor task is influenced by reading a segment-specific action word.

METHOD. Twenty-four participants performed tasks that involved reaching for a bottle, grasping it, lifting and placing it on a shelf, and returning their hand to the starting position. At the initiation of each task, participants read either aloud or silently five randomly provided, task-related words (reach, grasp, lift, place, and return).

RESULTS. Reading task-related words significantly affected the reach and lift/place segments in the direction of the hypothesis (p < 0.05) but not the return segments. Grasp times were shorter and grasp velocities were higher when participants read aloud or silently the words grasp and place for the grasp segment (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSION. The results suggest that in young adults, motor performance may be influenced by precuing or priming the brain with performance-related words. A meaning of a motor performance can be manipulated by contextually relevant language, which can facilitate performance.

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