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Brain Stimulation Over the Motion-Sensitive Midtemporal Area Reduces Deleterious Effects of Mental Fatigue on Perceptual–Cognitive Skills in Basketball Players

Leonardo S. Fortes, Maria E.C. Ferreira, Heloiana Faro, Eduardo M. Penna, and Sebastião S. Almeida

The objective of this study was to analyze the effect of anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (a-tDCS) over the motion-sensitive midtemporal area on perceptual–cognitive skills (visuomotor and basketball decision-making skills) in mentally fatigued basketball players. A total of 20 male basketball players were recruited. This was a randomized, double-blinded, and counterbalanced crossover study with two experimental conditions: a-tDCS and Sham. The participants completed the basketball decision-making task and visuomotor skill after performing a 60-min sport-based videogame task with anodal (i.e., a-tDCS) or placebo (Sham) stimulation over the motion-sensitive middle temporal area. Worse response time was observed in visuomotor skill for Sham than a-tDCS postexperiment (p < .05). There was no main condition effect for accuracy of visuomotor skill (p > .05). There was more impairment in accuracy and response time in basketball decision-making skills for the Sham condition than a-tDCS (p < .05). Notably, a-tDCS over the motion-sensitive middle temporal area removed the negative effects of mental fatigue on perceptual–cognitive skills.

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Glimpsing the Impossible: How Artificially Enhanced Targets Improve Elite Performance

Mark A. Robinson

In 2009, elite swimming introduced polyurethane “supersuits,” which artificially enhanced performances and facilitated 43 world records at the World Championships, before being prohibited from 2010. This transient, artificial improvement spike created a natural experiment to examine the effect of “impossible” targets on subsequent performances. Analyses revealed that swimming speeds at global championships in the postsupersuit period (2011–2017) were substantially faster than predicted from the presupersuit period (2000–2007). These results suggest that the transient, artificially enhanced performances of the supersuit era recalibrated targets upward—acting as goals—and improved subsequent performances beyond previous trajectories (d = 0.64; 0.70%). Contributing to psychological goal-setting theory, the positive relationship between the size of the transient, artificial improvement (i.e., goal difficulty) and subsequent performance was curvilinear, increasing at a decreasing rate before improvements plateaued. Overall, the research demonstrates the potential for elite athletes to exceed perceived human limits after expectations have been recalibrated upward.

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Longitudinal Associations Between Athletes’ Psychological Needs and Burnout Across a Competitive Season: A Latent Difference Score Analysis

Stephen Shannon, Garry Prentice, Noel Brick, Gerard Leavey, and Gavin Breslin

Participation in sport can paradoxically be a source of psychological needs satisfaction and psychological needs frustration. Self-determination theory was applied to explain temporal relationships of athletes’ psychological needs satisfactions and psychological needs frustrations with burnout through a two-wave longitudinal study. Participants included 184 athletes (M age = 24.04 years, SD = 5.56, 67.9% male) representing a range of competitive levels. A latent difference score model specifying longitudinal relationships between burnout and needs satisfactions and needs frustrations was tested. Significant within-variable changes were observed for all needs-satisfaction and needs-frustration variables. Longitudinal associations were found in Models 3 (autonomy frustration) and 6 (relatedness satisfaction). Higher burnout at baseline predicted an increase in autonomy frustration (β = 0.13, p < .05), whereas higher relatedness satisfaction at baseline reduced burnout levels later in the season (β = −0.22, p < .001). To conclude, continuous tracking of athlete burnout levels and fostering of needs-supportive climates that minimize autonomy-controlling behaviors are recommended for the burnout prevention in athletes.

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Volume 44 (2022): Issue S1 (May 2022)

Open access

North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity

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Attitudes of Sport Fans Toward the Electronic Sign-Stealing Scandal in Major League Baseball: Differing Associations With Perfectionism and Excellencism

Patrick Gaudreau and Benjamin J.I. Schellenberg

The winners of the 2017 World Series were found guilty of illegally using electronic devices to steal the signs of their opponents. Many but not all sport fans negatively reacted to this cheating incident. We relied on the model of excellencism and perfectionism to determine if perfection strivers are less unfavorable toward electronic sign stealing (cheating) compared with excellence strivers. Sport fans (N = 321) completed a measure of excellencism and perfectionism. We used three different approaches to measure attitudes toward electronic sign stealing in baseball. Results of a multivariate multiple regression showed that sport fans who are perfection strivers held more favorable attitudes toward electronic sign stealing compared with excellence strivers. Perfection strivers also reported higher moral disengagement and winning-at-all-cost mentality. These findings are insightful because they indicate that perfectionistic standards significantly relate to sport cheating-related attitudes once we separate excellencism from perfectionism.

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Digest

Kim Gammage, Jeff Caron, Alyson Crozier, Alison Ede, Matt Hoffman, Christopher Hill, Sean Locke, Desi McEwan, Kathleen Mellano, Eva Pila, Matthew Stork, and Svenja Wolf

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Modeling Players’ Scanning Activity in Football

Marius Pokolm, Robert Rein, Daniel Müller, Stephan Nopp, Marie Kirchhain, Karl Marius Aksum, Geir Jordet, and Daniel Memmert

The purpose of this study was to develop and test models of scanning activity in football. Gibson’s ecological approach of visual perception and exploratory activity provided the theoretical framework for the models. The video-based data analysis consisted of 17 selected matches and 239 players of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) U17 and U19 European Championship 2018 and the UEFA U17 and U21 European Championship 2019. The results showed a positive relation between scanning frequency and successful passes, as well as changes in body orientation. Scanning frequency was also related to a player’s appearances in national teams and to opponent pressure. Opponent pressure had a large effect on pass result and the player’s body orientation. Previous research on the relation between scanning frequency and performance was extended by several contextual predictors. Future research should focus on gaining a deeper understanding of the relation between scanning frequency and further contextual variables related to scanning.

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Pulling the Trigger: The Effect of a 5-Minute Slow Diaphragmatic Breathing Intervention on Psychophysiological Stress Responses and Pressurized Pistol Shooting Performance

Aodhagán Conlon, Rachel Arnold, Ezio Preatoni, and Lee J. Moore

This study examined the effect of slow diaphragmatic breathing on psychophysiological stress responses and pressurized performance. Sixty-seven participants (40 female; M age = 20.17 ± 2.77 years) were randomly assigned to either a diaphragmatic-breathing, paced-breathing, or control group. Participants completed a nonpressurized shooting task and then received instructions about a pressurized version. Next, the diaphragmatic group was told to breathe at 6 breaths/min, the paced group at 12 breaths/min, and the control group received no instructions. Following a 5-min intervention period, participants completed the pressurized task while performance was assessed. Psychophysiological stress responses (e.g., cognitive anxiety, heart rate) were recorded throughout. Results revealed that diaphragmatic breathing had mixed effects on stress responses, with some unaffected (e.g., heart rate) and others reduced (e.g., cognitive anxiety), and little effect on performance. Findings suggested that slow diaphragmatic breathing might not aid pressurized performance but could benefit psychological stress responses.

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Children’s Motivation Profiles in Sports and Physical Activities: A Latent Profile Analysis and Self-Determination Theory Approach

Annette Lohbeck, Andreas Hohmann, Philipp von Keitz, and Monika Daseking

Using latent profile analysis and self-determination theory, the present study aimed to examine younger children’s motivation profiles in sports and physical activities and the relations of those profiles to various predictors and achievement outcomes. A total of 1,116 German children from Grade 2 participated in this study. Latent-profile-analysis solutions based on five behavioral-regulation types covered in self-determination theory (i.e., intrinsic, identified, introjected, external, amotivation) were tested. Results favored a three-profile solution, showing three theoretically meaningful and distinct motivation profiles labeled “amotivated,” “non-self-determined,” and “self-determined.” Older children and children with a lower physical self-concept were more likely to be members of the amotivated profile relative to the other profiles than younger children and children with a higher physical self-concept. Furthermore, children of the self-determined profile demonstrated the best physical performance in various motor-skills tests.