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Paul R. Surburg

This article provides insights into the use of imagery procedures with special populations. After an overview of various imagery techniques that have been used to enhance motor performance with normal persons, studies dealing with the elderly, brain and spinal cord injuries, neoplasms, and persons with mental handicaps are discussed. Issues are addressed concerning the use of imagery techniques by the researcher and practitioner. The final section of this paper deals with possible applications of imagery techniques with special populations.

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Paul R. Surburg

The effects of uncertainty of occurrence and uncertainty of time—use of catch-trials and preparatory intervals—in simple reaction time (RT) trials were investigated with nonhandicapped and mentally retarded subjects. The results showed that: (a) Catch-trials impaired the performance of this task, (b) catch-trials did not differentiate among groups of subjects, and (c) preparatory intervals differently affected RT latencies of nonhandicapped and mentally retarded subjects. Interpretation of findings suggests that the use of catch-trials induced preparation decrements and that preparation decrements may explain in part the poorer RT performance of retarded subjects.

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Paul R. Surburg

Problems encountered by researchers conducting motor learning studies with special populations are the central focus of this paper. The sequence of topical coverage follows a progression that would be encountered by researchers as they develop and conduct research studies. For each problem or issue identified, a suggestion is provided to help researchers cope with these problems. The following topics are examined: development of an appropriate problem, selection of a handicapping condition, determination of dependent variables, utilization of correct experimental protocols, evaluation of project design, and assessment of data.

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Paul R. Surburg

The purpose of this article was to examine techniques that are available to adapted physical educators and therapeutic recreators to enhance flexibility. Based upon current research and literature in the areas of flexibility and range of motion, this article explored theoretical constructs as well as applications of specific techniques. A two-tier model for flexibility enhancement was generated which served as a basis for the development of this article. One tier involved considerations concerning the stretching of collagenous tissue, implications regarding elastic and viscous properties, and new methods for stretching this type of tissue. The other tier incorporated neurophysiological mechanisms, their effect upon agonist and antagonist muscles, and facilitation exercises to improve flexibility.

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Paul R. Surburg and Paul E. Turner

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Rebecca J. Woodard and Paul R. Surburg

The purpose was to compare children with and without learning disabilities (LD), ages 6–8 years, on midline crossing inhibition (MCI). Participants were 44 children (24 boys and 20 girls) in two groups (LD and non-LD), matched on age and gender. MCI was operationally defined as significantly slower contralateral movement when choice reaction time (CRT) and movement time (MT) performance were examined for ipsilateral, midline, and contralateral tasks with both upper and lower extremities. Participants completed 12 days of tests (30 trials each day) using a protocol developed by Eason and Surburg (1993). A 2 (Group) × 2 (Extremity) × 3 (Direction) repeated measures MANOVA revealed significant difference for each dependent variable. Children with LD displayed MCI, whereas children without LD did not.

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Bobby L. Eason and Paul R. Surburg

Students with mild mental retardation (MMR) often demonstrate reluctance, confusion, or performance deterioration when required to perform tasks that require looking, reaching, or stepping across the body’s midline. Sensory integration theorists contend that midline crossing is a predictor of bilateral integration. However, in factor analysis studies, very little variance is accounted for by midline crossing data. The present study viewed midline crossing as a function of information processing and utilized a temporal assessment process rather than the usual spatial assessment process. Results indicated that subjects classified as MMR experienced slower choice reaction time (CRT) and movement time (MT) for stimuli placed across the body’s midline. However, higher functioning subjects with MMR performed equally well on CRT for ipsilateral and crosslateral tasks. The data provide evidence for a developmental hypothesis as an explanation for midline crossing problems.

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Rory Suomi, Paul R. Surburg and Peter Lecius

The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of hydraulic resistance (HR) training on total work and peak torque measures of isokinetic strength for tests of knee extension and hip abduction on men with mental retardation (MR). The subjects, 22 men with mild to moderate MR, were randomly assigned to two groups; 11 subjects trained three times a week for 12 weeks using HR exercise machines, while the other 11 served as controls. Prior to and after the 12 weeks of training, all subjects were assessed on isokinetic tests of knee extension at 60 deg/s and hip abduction at 30 deg/s. The strength trained subjects exhibited significant increases in total work scores on knee extension and hip abduction tests for both legs ranging from 25.0 to 177.1%. Significant increases ranging from 50.1 to 82.7% were also noted on two of the four peak torque measures. The control subjects did not exhibit significant changes in total work or peak torque scores on either muscle test between test sessions.

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Doris Pogue Screws and Paul R. Surburg

In order to improve motor performance, mental imagery procedures have evolved over the years with nondisabled subjects. Studies researching the concept of using mental imagery with special populations (Surburg, & Stumpner, 1987; Surburg, 1991; Surburg, Porretta, & Sutlive, 1995) are very few in number. This study examined the efficacy of using mental imagery in developing skill on a motorically oriented task (pursuit rotor) and a cognitively oriented task (peg board) on middle school students with mild mental disabilities (MMD). Thirty subjects were assigned randomly to a physical, imagery, or no-practice control group to perform either a peg board or pursuit rotor task. For each motor task, there was a pretest followed by appropriate treatment regime and a posttest session. The dependent variables were the number of pegs placed in appropriate order for the peg board task and time on target for the pursuit rotor task. Results were that imagery practice enhanced the motor performance of children with MMD on both the peg board (cognitively oriented task) and pursuit rotor (motorically oriented task).