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This study examined the effects of model-similarity cues on motor performance and self-efficacy. Specifically, the study was designed to determine which characteristics of a model (sex or ability) subjects perceived as the more salient similarity cue. This study was a replication and extension of the no-talk model conditions employed in the Gould and Weiss (1981) study. Female college students (N=100) with limited or no athletic experience were randomly assigned to one of four modeling conditions (an athletic male model, an athletic female model, a nonathletic male model, or a nonathletic female model) or to a no-model (control) group. After viewing a videotaped demonstration of the model performing a leg-extension endurance task, each subject performed three trials. Subjects completed self-efficacy questionnaires on two occasions. Only those subjects indicating that it was moderately to very important for them to do well on the task were used in the analyses (N=69). Results replicated those in Gould and Weiss's study in that subjects in the nonathletic-model groups extended their legs significantly longer than subjects in the athletic-model groups. In addition, subjects in the nonathletic-model conditions reported higher levels of efficacy compared to subjects in the athletic-model conditions. Our finding extends Gould and Weiss's study in that it suggests that model ability is a more salient similarity cue than model sex for nonathletic or unskilled female observers.
T.R. George is now with the Division of Kinesiology at The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109. D.L. Feltz and M.A. Chase are with the Department of Physical Education and Exercise Science at Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.