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Albert V. Carron, Heather A. Hausenblas and Diane Mack

Using meta-analysis, the impact of a number of manifestations of social influence (important others, family, class leaders, coexercisers, social cohesion, and task cohesion) on exercise behaviors (adherence and compliance), cognitions (intentions and efficacy), and affect (satisfaction and attitude) was examined. The results showed that social influence generally has a small to moderate positive effect (i.e., effect size [ES] from .20 to .50). However, four moderate to large effect sizes (i.e., ES from .50 to .80) were found: family support and attitudes about exercise, task cohesion and adherence behavior, important others and attitudes about exercise, and family support and compliance behavior.

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Robert J. Brustad

Youth sport research has failed to address the influential role of socialization agents in shaping children's motivational processes in sport. The purpose of this paper is to encourage the integration of socialization influences, particularly parental behaviors, into the study of children's sport motivation. The impact of socialization influences in shaping those cognitions widely regarded to influence children's sport behavior is examined. Special attention is paid to related research in academic settings that identifies the influence of parental socialization patterns upon children's self-perception characteristics, orientations toward achievement, and patterns of motivated behavior. Recommendations are made for incorporating socialization influences into youth sport research within the framework of cognitive-developmental theory.

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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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Carlos Ayán, Paulo Carvalho, Silvia Varela and José María Cancela

Background: Research regarding the impact of aquatic exercise on cognition is scarce. This study aimed at identifying the effects of water-based exercise training on the cognitive function and quality of life of healthy adult women. Methods: Fifty-one healthy women [mean age: 46.5 (12.3) y] were assigned to group A or B and followed a water-based exercise program for 6 months. During the first 3 months, the sessions performed by group A were focused on stimulating cognitive function. For the next 3 months, the sessions were mainly aimed at improving physical fitness. Participants in group B followed the same program in reverse order. The trail making and symbol digit modality tests were used to assess the impact of the program on cognition. The effects of the intervention on the participants’ physical and mental health were measured by means of the medical outcomes study 36-item short-form health survey. Results: Once the intervention ended, significant improvements were observed in the participants’ cognitive function and mental health domain, regardless of the group in which they were initially included. Conclusion: Water-based exercise is a training modality capable of enhancing cognitive function and quality of life through improvements in mental health in healthy adult women.

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Veronique Labelle, Laurent Bosquet, Said Mekary, Thien Tuong Minh Vu, Mark Smilovitch and Louis Bherer

The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of exercise intensity, age, and fitness levels on executive and nonexecutive cognitive tasks during exercise. Participants completed a computerized modified-Stroop task (including denomination, inhibition, and switching conditions) while pedaling on a cycle ergometer at 40%, 60%, and 80% of peak power output (PPO). We showed that a bout of moderate-intensity (60% PPO) to high-intensity (80% PPO) exercise was associated with deleterious performance in the executive component of the computerized modified-Stroop task (i.e., switching condition), especially in lower-fit individuals (p < .01). Age did not have an effect on the relationship between acute cardiovascular exercise and cognition. Acute exercise can momentarily impair executive control equivalently in younger and older adults, but individual’s fitness level moderates this relation.

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Chun-Hao Wang and Chia-Liang Tsai

The study aimed to investigate the effects of regular physical activity on visuospatial cognition in elderly adults, and to further understand the potential neural mechanisms underpinning such effects. We assessed 24 physically active elderly adults and 24 sedentary counterparts using behavioral and neuroelectric measures during a visuospatial cognitive task with different levels of cognitive load. The results showed that the active group had higher behavioral accuracy along with greater P3 amplitudes, regardless of the level of cognitive load. Moreover, the correlation results revealed that physical activity levels were positively associated with accuracy performance in both conditions, while being correlated with frontal P3 amplitudes in the high cognitively demanding condition. However, no significant effects were observed in terms of P3 latency and contingent negative variation. These findings suggest that regular physical activity might be part of an effective lifestyle to attenuate the trajectory of age-related cognitive declines, thus increasing the likelihood of individuals becoming high-functioning older adults.

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Waneen W. Spirduso

Maintaining health and postponing chronic disease are assuming a higher priority in our aging society. It is therefore more critical than ever to understand the specific contribution that exercise makes toward the achievement of independent and healthy living for as many individuals as possible. Scientists have already shown that exercise plays an important role in maintaining cardiovascular health, muscular strength and endurance, balance, flexibility, and neuromuscular coordination. What remains for researchers of the future is to clarify the relationships among fitness, cognition, emotional health, and well-being in the elderly. More important, the greatest challenge for future researchers is to determine how an adult population that recognizes the benefits of exercise but continues to be sedentary can be transformed into a population that incorporates an adequate level of physical activity into its lifestyle.

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Edward McAuley

The relationships between efficacy cognitions and causal attributions for exercise progress, and their impact on affective responses, were examined in a sample of previously sedentary middle-aged individuals 10 weeks into an exercise program. Employing theoretical propositions put forth by Bandura (1986) and Weiner (1985), it was hypothesized that exercise efficacy would influence causal attributions and affective responses to exercise participation. Path analysis demonstrated that greater exercise frequency resulted in more internal, somewhat stable, and personally controllable attributions for perceived exercise progress. More efficacious subjects also attributed their progress to more personally controllable causes. All three causal dimensions were related to positive affect, and efficacy had significant direct and indirect effects on affect. The results are discussed with respect to the need to more closely examine the role affect might play in exercise over time, as opposed to single bouts of exercise. Furthermore, the necessity for studying complex interplays of cognitive determinants of exercise behavior is discussed.

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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.

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Sirinun Boripuntakul and Somporn Sungkarat

The objective of this study was to examine the association between cognitive ability and gait initiation performance in older adults. Global and specific cognitive functions and spatiotemporal gait parameters during gait initiation were assessed in 60 older adults. Multivariate linear regression was conducted to determine the association between cognitive functions and gait initiation parameters. Results showed that global cognitive function was not associated with any of the spatiotemporal parameters. Poorer performance on measures of executive function and language ability were associated with shorter step length, narrower step width, and longer step time. In addition, poorer performance on test of visuospatial ability was associated with longer step time. In conclusion, specific but not global cognitive functions were associated with gait initiation performance. Clinical gait examination should incorporate gait initiation and cognitive assessments. Rehabilitation strategies aimed at improving cognition and gait initiation performance may be beneficial for preventing falls.