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Barbi Law and Craig Hall

The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of skill level and age on golfers’ (n = 188) use of observational learning for skill, strategy, and performance functions, as assessed by the Functions of Observational Learning Questionnaire. Golf handicap was used as an objective measure of golf skill level, with a lower handicap reflecting a higher skill level. It was hypothesized that both age and skill level would predict observational learning use, with younger and less experienced golfers reporting increased use of all three functions of observational learning. It was also predicted that age and skill level would interact to predict use of the performance function, with younger golfers employing more of that function than older golfers at the same skill level. Partial support was obtained for these hypotheses. Regression analyses revealed that the interaction of age and skill level predicted use of the skill function. Younger golfers employed more of the skill function than older golfers; however this discrepancy increased as skill level decreased. Age, and not skill level, was a significant predictor of golfers’ use of both the strategy and performance functions, with younger golfers employing more of these functions than older golfers. These results suggest that age-related factors may have a greater impact than skill-related factors on observational learning use across the lifespan.

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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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Moira Lafferty and Caroline Wakefield

suggested in line with SCT that observing the hazing behaviors of older team members, and the subsequent social reward and power while being initiated, presented an observational learning experience, and that in turn contributed to the desire to be in a position to become the perpetrator. Combining all of