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Ralf Brand and Geoffrey Schweizer

The goal of the present paper is to propose a model for the study of automatic cognition and affect in exercise. We have chosen a dual-system approach to social information processing to investigate the hypothesis that situated decisions between behavioral alternatives form a functional link between automatic and reflective evaluations and the time spent on exercise. A new questionnaire is introduced to operationalize this link. A reaction-time–based evaluative priming task was used to test participants’ automatic evaluations. Affective and cognitive reflective evaluations, as well as exercising time, were requested via self-report. Path analyses suggest that the affective reflective (beta = .71) and the automatic evaluation (beta = .15) independently explain situated decisions, which, in turn (beta = .60) explain time spent on exercise. Our findings highlight the concept of contextualized decisions. They can serve as a starting point from which the so far seldom investigations of automatic cognition and affect in exercise can be integrated with multitudinous results from studies on reflective psychological determinants of health behavior.

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Philip Furley and Geoffrey Schweizer

The goal of the present paper was to investigate whether soccer referees’ nonverbal behavior (NVB) differed based on the difficulty of their decisions and whether perceivers could detect these systematic variations. On the one hand, communicating confidence via NVB is emphasized in referee training. On the other hand, it seems feasible from a theoretical point of view that particularly following relatively difficult decisions referees have problems controlling their NVB. We conducted three experiments to investigate this question. Experiment 1 (N = 40) and Experiment 2 (N = 60) provided evidence that perceivers regard referees’ NVB as less confident following ambiguous decisions as compared with following unambiguous decisions. Experiment 3 (N = 58) suggested that perceivers were more likely to debate with the referee when referees nonverbally communicated less confidence. We discuss consequences for referee training.

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Philip Furley and Geoffrey Schweizer

The goal of the present research was to test whether score-related changes in opponents’ nonverbal behavior influence athletes’ confidence in beating their opponents. In an experiment, 40 participants who were experienced basketball players watched brief video clips depicting athletes’ nonverbal behavior. Video clips were not artificially created, but showed naturally occurring behavior. Participants indicated how confident they were in beating the presented athletes in a hypothetical scenario. Results indicated that participants’ confidence estimations were influenced by opponents’ score-related nonverbal behavior. Participants were less confident about beating a leading team and more confident about beating a trailing team, although they were unaware of the actual score during the depicted scenes. The present research is the first to show that in-game variations of naturally occurring nonverbal behavior can influence athletes’ confidence. This finding highlights the importance of research into nonverbal behavior in sports, particularly in relation to athletes’ confidence.

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Matthias Bluemke, Ralf Brand, Geoffrey Schweizer and Daniela Kahlert

Models employed in exercise psychology highlight the role of reflective processes for explaining behavior change. However, as discussed in social cognition literature, information-processing models also consider automatic processes (dual-process models). To examine the relevance of automatic processing in exercise psychology, we used a priming task to assess the automatic evaluations of exercise stimuli in physically active sport and exercise majors (n = 32), physically active nonsport majors (n = 31), and inactive students (n = 31). Results showed that physically active students responded faster to positive words after exercise primes, whereas inactive students responded more rapidly to negative words. Priming task reaction times were successfully used to predict reported amounts of exercise in an ordinal regression model. Findings were obtained only with experiential items reflecting negative and positive consequences of exercise. The results illustrate the potential importance of dual-process models in exercise psychology.