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Fabienne d’Arripe-Longueville, Christophe Gernigon, Marie-Laure Huet, Marielle Cadopi, and Fayda Winnykamen

Based on Vygotsky’s theory of cognitive development and its concept of zone of proximal development, this study examined how the skill level of a peer tutor affects the achievement motivation of novice learners and their performance in a swimming task. Gender differences were also explored. High school students (N = 48) were assigned in a 2 × 3 (Gender × Tutor skill level: novice vs. intermediate vs. skilled) factorial design. Participants were invited to observe a same-sex peer tutor, complete a self-efficacy questionnaire, train with their tutor for 8 minutes, and complete a goal involvement questionnaire. Results demonstrated that skilled tutors yielded the best swimming skills for boys, whereas skilled and intermediate tutors yielded better skills than did novice tutors for girls. The skilled tutor group led to higher self-efficacy for improvement and gave more demonstrations and verbal information than did the novice group. Male tutees adopted higher ego involvement goals and trained more physically, whereas female tutees adopted higher learning goals and received more demonstrations and verbal instructions. Results are discussed in relation to educational studies conducted in a Vygotskian perspective.

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Karen S. Meaney, L. Kent Griffin, and Melanie A. Hart

This investigation examined the effect of model similarity on girls’ acquisition, retention, transfer, and transfer strategies of a novel motor task. Forty girls (mean age = 10 years) were randomly assigned to conditions in a 2 (model skill level) ✓ 2 (model sex) factorial design using four treatment groups: (a) male skilled, (b) male learning, (c) female skilled, and (d) female learning. Quantitative data were collected throughout all phases of the investigation. ANOVA results for transfer strategies revealed a significant main effect for model skill level and model sex. Participants observing a female model or a learning model transferred significantly more learning strategies than did participants observing a male or skilled model. After quantitative data collection, qualitative data were obtained via structured interviews and assessed through content analysis. Results from the interview analyses underscored the need to include models of similar sex, as well as learning models when instructing girls in motor skills.

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Fabienne d’Arripe-Longueville, Christophe Gernigon, Marie-Laure Huet, Fayda Winnykamen, and Marielle Cadopi

The purposes of this study were to qualitatively analyze peer interaction in dyads practicing a swimming skill, and to examine the potential dyad type-by-gender differences in observed peer interaction modes. Sixty-four senior high school students (32 M, 32 F) trained for 8 min either in symmetrical (same competence) or asymmetrical (different competence levels) same-sex dyads. The numbers of attempts and performance scores were also documented for novices. The observed peer interaction modes consisted of guidance-tutoring, imitation, cooperation, and parallel activity. Multivariate and univariate analyses revealed that tutoring and imitation were manifested more in asymmetrical dyads, while cooperation and parallel activity were more frequent in symmetrical dyads. Males in symmetrical dyads displayed the most parallel activity. Males carried out more attempts than females. Regarding performance, males in asymmetrical dyads benefited more from training than the other groups did. Similarities and differences with findings observed in the academic domain are discussed.

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John H. Kingsbury and John M. Tauer

The authors examined the effects of individualistic media images on children’s levels of optimism toward their future basketball careers. Three hundred sixty-five participants watched highlights featuring either Black or White players performing an easy (passing) or difficult skill (slam dunking). Results indicated that participants placed a higher value on slam dunks when they watched them in a highlight tape. In addition, we found the same interaction on 3 dependent variables, such that those who viewed a same-race model performing passes felt more optimistic about playing both college and professional basketball and higher levels of positive arousal. Given Western society’s individualistic culture, the authors suggest that increased exposure to media images that promote unselfishness and teamwork would be beneficial for young athletes.

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Nicola J. Hodges

When we watch other people perform actions, this involves many interacting processes comprising cognitive, motor, and visual system interactions. These processes change based on the context of our observations, particularly if the actions are novel and our intention is to learn those actions so we can later reproduce them, or respond to them in an effective way. Over the past 20 years or so I have been involved in research directed at understanding how we learn from watching others, what information guides this learning, and how our learning experiences, whether observational or physical, impact our subsequent observations of others, particularly when we are engaged in action prediction. In this review I take a historical look at action observation research, particularly in reference to motor skill learning, and situate my research, and those of collaborators and students, among the common theoretical and methodological frameworks of the time.

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Flora Panteli, Charilaos Tsolakis, Dimitris Efthimiou, and Athanasia Smirniotou

This study examined the contribution of instructional self-talk and observational learning on the development of long jump technique. Sixty-nine beginner athletes were randomly assigned to four groups: ‘self-talk’, ‘video’, ‘self-talk + video’ and control group. All groups performed 24 practice sessions, consisting of a cognitive intervention program in the form of either instructional self-talk or observational learning, or a combination of both, and the practice of specific drills. A significantly higher performance improvement was recorded for the self-talk group in post test, whereas when kinematic variables of the motor skill (center of mass displacement) were assessed, “observational learning” proved to be more effective. The findings of the current study suggest that young, beginner athletes, participating in complicated tasks, may benefit from cognitive intervention techniques, through enhanced attentional focus on the most critical elements of the motor skill.

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Penny McCullagh

This experiment extended previous findings on whether model characteristics affect attentional subprocesses and mediate performance changes in an observational learning setting. College women (N = 75) were randomly assigned to groups in a 2 x 2 (Cueing by Model Similarity) factorial design or to a no-model control group. To assess attentional differences, subjects were cued either prior to or subsequent to a demonstration as to model characteristics, and model similarity was manipulated by having subjects view a similar or dissimilar model. All subjects saw the same videotaped demonstration, only their perceptions of model characteristics were manipulated. Subjects performed 20 performance trials in Phase 1 with outcome knowledge of results (KR) and, after a 1-rnin rest period, were given 10 more performance trials without KR in Phase 2. The results from Phase 1 indicated that subjects performed better after watching a model they perceived to be similar than after one they perceived as dissimilar. Phase 2 data indicated that all subjects were performing similarly in terms of outcome scores but that the control group was using a different strategy than the demonstration groups. The investigation found support for performance differences dependent on model characteristics and pointed to the need to examine more than outcome scores when assessing observational learning effects.

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Diane M. Ste-Marie

.1080/02640410600947025 10.1080/02640410600947025 Cumming , J. , Clark , S.E. , Ste-Marie , D.M. , McCullagh , P. , & Hall , C. ( 2005 ). The functions of observational learning questionnaire (FOLQ) . Psychology of Sport & Exercise, 6 , 517 – 537 . doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2004.03.006 10.1016/j

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Deborah Johnson-Shelton, Jeanette Ricci, Erika Westling, Missy Peterson, and Julie C. Rusby

may occur through observational learning; through direct instruction or vicarious reinforcement, either extrinsic or intrinsic; and through changing expectations and expectancies. By using this framework to guide TIR program components, including (1) physical skill instruction training in age

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Ogün Köyağasıoğlu and Cengizhan Özgürbüz

. Mental training interventions such as motor imagery (MI) and action observation (AO) 10 , 11 are other training options that can contribute to the observational learning process for motor skills. The mechanism of mental training was suggested by their potential to facilitate the activation of neural