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Ella McLoughlin, Rachel Arnold, Paul Freeman, James E. Turner, Gareth A. Roberts, David Fletcher, George M. Slavich, and Lee J. Moore

This study addressed whether lifetime stressor exposure was associated with psychophysiological reactivity and habituation to a novel laboratory-based stressor. Eighty-six participants (M age = 23.31 years, SD = 4.94) reported their exposure to lifetime non-sport and sport-specific stressors before completing two consecutive trials of the Trier Social Stress Test, while cardiovascular (i.e., heart rate) and endocrine (i.e., salivary cortisol) data were recorded. Exposure to a moderate number of lifetime non-sport and sport-specific stressors was associated with adaptive cardiovascular reactivity, whereas very low or very high stressor exposure was related to maladaptive reactivity. Moreover, experiencing a very low number of lifetime non-sport (but not sport-specific) stressors was associated with poorer habituation. In contrast, lifetime stressor severity was unrelated to cardiovascular reactivity. Finally, greater lifetime non-sport and sport-specific stressor counts were associated with blunted cortisol reactivity and poorer habituation. These results suggest that lifetime stressor exposure may influence sport performers’ acute stress responses.

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Gregg Twietmeyer and Tyler G. Johnson

Meritocracy continues to dominate conventional thinking in the postmodern West. Yet, recently, an increasing number of critics have highlighted how meritocracy has gone wrong. One such critic is Daniel Markovits, author of The Meritocracy Trap. In this article, we highlight the major themes of Markovits’s book, identify how the ideology of meritocracy has infiltrated kinesiology and sport, and then propose how to reconceptualize and redirect kinesiology toward a more humane and morally sound discipline, which can avoid the pitfalls of the meritocracy trap. Most notably, we propose that kinesiology should (a) recognize the frailty and temporality of humans, (b) embrace the wide middle of human skill performance capabilities, (c) value mid-level jobs and occupations such as physical education teaching and YMCA and/or city recreation department positions, and (d) redefine what counts as success.

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Zsófia Pálya, Bálint Petró, and Rita M. Kiss

Background: Balancing performance can be affected by regular and high-level athletic training, which has not been fully explored in synchronized ice skaters. This study aimed to analyze the dynamic balancing performance by assessing the principal and compensatory movements performed during the sudden provocation tests and evaluating the parameters that characterize the platform’s motion. Method: Twelve young female synchronized ice skaters and 12 female age-matched controls participated. Sudden provocation tests were completed three times in bipedal stance and in single-leg stances, and sport-specific fatigue session was inserted between the repetitions. Results: Significantly more time was necessary to recover balance for both groups after the fatiguing sessions (p < .05). Interestingly, skaters performed less effectively in the simplest condition (bipedal stance) than the control group (p < .05). The principal component analysis showed that the first principal movement was the same for both groups. The skater group used the upper body and arms more often to compensate, while the control group’s recovery strategy consisted mainly of abduction of the elevated leg. The damping ratio and the relative variance of the first principal movement showed a negative correlation (p < .05), suggesting that those with superior balancing effectiveness recruited more compensatory movements.

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Katherine Q. Scott-Andrews, Rebecca E. Hasson, Alison L. Miller, Thomas J. Templin, and Leah E. Robinson

This study examines the associations of physical activity and gross motor skills in parent–child dyads. Parent–child dyads (N = 61, 84% mothers, children aged 8–11 years) participated in this study. Anthropometrics were self-reported through Qualtrics. Physical activity was assessed using accelerometers. Motor skills were measured through four skills: catch, kick, throw, and jump. These skills were assessed using process (i.e., performance criteria of the Test of Gross Motor Development-3) and product (i.e., catch percentage and jump distance) measures. A complete motor skill score was computed by standardizing both process and product scores and summing them. Correlation coefficients and ordinary least square regressions were computed to examine the associations of physical activity and motor skills. Parents’ and children’s moderate to vigorous physical activity were significantly associated (β = 0.30 ± 0.11; p = .008). Parents’ and children’s motor skills were significantly associated (β = 0.46 ± 0.18; p = .012). Understanding parent determinants can support effective interventions targeting children’s low physical activity levels and improving motor competence. Our results highlight the importance of parents’ physical activity and motor skills, which are significantly associated with those of their children. These parent factors may be a key consideration for effective family-based physical activity interventions.

Open access

Laetitia Jeancolas, Lauriane Rat-Fischer, J. Kevin O’Regan, and Jacqueline Fagard

Infants start to use a spoon for self-feeding at the end of the first year of life, but usually do not use unfamiliar tools to solve problems before the age of 2 years. We investigated to what extent 18-month-old infants who are familiar with using a spoon for self-feeding are able to generalize this tool-use ability to retrieve a distant object. We tested 46 infants with different retrieval tasks, varying the tool (rake or spoon) and the target (toy or food). The tasks were presented in a priori descending order of difficulty: rake–toy condition, then either spoon–toy or rake–food, and finally spoon–food. Then, the same conditions were presented in reverse order to assess the transfer abilities from the easiest condition to the most difficult retrieval task. Spontaneously, 18-month-old infants performed the retrieval tasks better with the familiar tool, the easiest task being when the spoon was associated with food. Moreover, the transfer results show that being able to use a familiar tool in an unusual context seems necessary and sufficient for subsequent transfer to an unfamiliar tool in the unusual context, and that early and repetitive training of self-feeding with a spoon plays a positive role in later tool use.

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Somayeh Bahrami, Behrouz Abdoli, Alireza Farsi, Mahin Aghdaei, and Thomas Simpson

Research has shown that large visual illusions and an external focus of attention can improve novice’s motor learning. However, the combined effects of these approaches and the underlying mechanisms have yet to be studied. Therefore, the present study examined the effects of a large visual illusion and an external focus on the learning of a dart throwing task in novices and measured the perceptual mechanisms underpinning learning using quiet eye. Forty novice participants were randomly divided into four groups: large visual illusion, external focus of attention, combined large visual illusion and external focus of attention, and control group. The study consisted of a pretest, a practice phase, an immediate retention test, a 24-hr retention test, and a transfer test. Results revealed that all groups increased throwing accuracy and quiet eye duration from pretest to immediate retention. In the immediate retention, 24-hr retention, and transfer test, large visual illusion had greater accuracy and longer quiet eye duration than the control group. In addition, there were no significant differences between the visual illusion and external focus groups for throwing accuracy and quiet eye duration. The findings suggest that combining large visual illusion and external focus can independently improve motor learning but combining these manipulations does not have additive benefits.

Open access

Maarten A. Immink