Self-Modeling: Influence on Psychological Responses and Physical Performance

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Nilam Ram University of Virginia

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Penny McCullagh California State University, Hayward

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Although self-modeling has been effective in modifying behaviors in a variety of settings, little research has been completed in the physical domain. The purpose of this study was to test the effectiveness of self-modeling on performance and self-efficacy using a sport skill and to explore the cognitive processes underlying self-modeling. A multiple baseline single-subject design was used wherein five intermediate level volleyball players were given a self-modeling intervention. Performance outcome results indicated that self-modeling may contribute to increases in serve accuracy. Performance form and selfefficacy results were inconclusive. Using a think-aloud protocol, it was noted that although the participants found the images of themselves “shocking,” the images command cognitive resources. Postintervention interviews revealed that participants found the self-modeling intervention useful and that it led to changes in behavior and motivation.

Nilam Ram is with the Department of Psychology, PO Box 400400, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4400. E-mail: nilam@virginia.edu. Penny McCullagh is with the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education at California State University, Hayward.

This study was based on master’s work conducted by Nilam Ram while a student at the University of Colorado under the guidance of Penny McCullagh at California State University, Hayward. Nilam Ram is now a doctoral student in psychology at the University of Virginia. Penny McCullagh is professor and chair in the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education at California State University, Hayward.

Special thanks to Ruby Guevarra, Michael Phillips, and Christopher Rubin for help in conducting the investigation and for spending many hours rating an endless stream of videotape. Thanks also to Jim Spagle for his assistance in preparing for this study and Maureen Weiss for helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. Thanks very much to the participants for all of their time and energy and for coming week after week after week.

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