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Margaret P. Sanders and Nicholas P. Murray

The instructional environment of a self-defense program can influence skill acquisition, confidence, mood, and well-being. Two forms of learning responsible for the acquisition of a new motor skill is implicit and explicit learning. The purpose of the study was to evaluate a six-week implicit versus explicit self-defense training program on skill improvement, self-efficacy, affect, and subjective well-being. Thirty older adults were randomly assigned to one of two self-defense training groups, with one being taught implicitly and the other explicitly. A skill test was used to measure speed, accuracy, and effectiveness of self-defense skills learned. Participants were also assessed by a Self-Defense Self-Efficacy scale, PANAS-X, Personal Well-being Index-Adult, and Subjective Vitality scale. A repeated measure of ANOVA, post hoc test, and an independent samples t-test was used to evaluate each variable. Data analysis revealed that the implicit self-defense training group exhibited greater speed and accuracy in performing self-defense skills, while the explicit group demonstrated greater skill efficiency. Both training groups reported an increase in self-efficacy, positive affect, and subjective well-being. The findings of the study highlight the benefits of implicit instruction on self-defense training, and is unique to the older population.

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Nicholas P. Murray and Christopher M. Janelle

The purpose of this study was to examine the central tenets of the Processing Efficiency Theory (PET) in the context of a dual-task auto racing simulation. Participants were placed into either high or low trait-anxiety groups and required to concurrently undertake a driving task while responding to one of four target LEDs upon presentation of either a valid or an invalid cue located in the central or peripheral visual field. Eye movements and dual-task performance were recorded under baseline and competition conditions. Anxiety was induced by an instructional set delivered prior to the competition condition. Findings indicated that while there was little change in driving performance from baseline to competition, response time was reduced for the low-anxious group but increased for the high-anxious group during the competitive session. Additionally there was an increase in search rate for both groups during the competitive session, indicating a reduction in processing efficiency. Implications of this study include a more comprehensive and mechanistic account of the PET and confirm that increases in cognitive anxiety may result in a reduction of processing efficiency, with little change in performance effectiveness.

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Christopher M. Janelle, Charles H. Hillman, Ross J. Apparies, Nicholas P. Murray, Launi Meili, Elizabeth A. Fallon and Bradley D. Hatfield

The purpose of this study was to examine whether variability in gaze behavior and cortical activation would differentiate expert (n = 12) and nonexpert (n = 13) small-bore rifle shooters. Spectral-activity and eye-movement data were collected concurrently during the course of a regulation indoor sequence of 40 shots from the standing position. Experts exhibited significantly superior shooting performance, as well as a significantly longer quiet eye period preceding shot execution than did nonexperts. Additionally, expertise interacted with hemispheric activation levels: Experts demonstrated a significant increase in left-hemisphere alpha and beta power, accompanied by a reduction in right-hemisphere alpha and beta power, during the preparatory period just prior to the shot. Nonexperts exhibited similar hemispheric asymmetry, but to a lesser extent than did experts. Findings suggest systematic expertise-related differences in ocular and cortical activity during the preparatory phase leading up to the trigger pull that reflects more optimal organization of the neural structures needed to achieve high-level performance.