Differential Figure-ground Perception in Classified and Unclassified Fencers

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 University of Arizona
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Identification of psychological and perceptual variables which cause one athlete to be more successful than another may enable coaches to initially better select those individuals who might ultimately have the greatest prospect for success within a given sport. The purpose of the present investigation was to determine whether a relationship exists between fencing ability and psychological differentiation, as measured by a test of field dependence-independence. Because differentiating the movement of one's body and analytically diagnosing the events during a bout are critical to fencing success, it was hypothesized that higher skilled, classified fencers (N = 26) would be more field independent (as measured by a rod and frame test) than less skilled, unclassified fencers (N = 20). The results were significant and in the hypothesized direction (p < .001). There were no significant differences for age, number of years fenced, and educational background. It was concluded that any assessment of fencing potential should include a rod and frame test to measure field dependence-independence.

Appreciation is extended to Kathleen Tritschler and Debra Nelson for their assistance in data collection. Reprint requests should be sent to Dr. Jean Williams, Department of Physical Education, Building #93, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721.

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