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Jack A. G. Marlow and Mark Uphill

This study explored the characteristics, contextual factors and consequences of counterfactual thoughts in seven elite athletes using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Counterfactuals were experienced regularly with self-directed and upward counterfactuals (cognitions about how things could be better) being most frequent. These upward counterfactuals typically occurred following performance that was below participants’ goals and expectations. These thoughts were perceived by participants to have a negative affect initially, and that they then led to facilitative behavioral consequences around learning and development. Some elements of counterfactual thinking could be used as a useful reflective tool to encourage elite athletes to problem solve and motivate cognitive, emotional and behavioral change to enhance future performance.

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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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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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Kenneth E. Powell and Steven N. Blair

of the bladder, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, lung, and stomach. Regular MVPA reduces the risk of dementia, and both regular and single bouts of MVPA improve cognition across the age spectrum, including improvements in executive function, a set of cognitive operations enabling the self

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Lisa Cooke and Krista Chandler

Given the prevalence of inactivity among women, it is imperative to examine sources which may influence exercise behavior. Researchers have begun to examine the practical application of exercise imagery on involvement in physical activity (Giacobbi et al., 2003; Milne et al., 2008). Using the Applied Model of Imagery Use in Exercise (Munroe-Chandler & Gammage, 2005), imagery use, efficacy beliefs, and body image among female exercisers (N = 300) was investigated. Results revealed frequent use of exercise imagery, high efficacy beliefs, and positive body image cognitions among exercisers. Structural equation modeling revealed that efficacy beliefs did not mediate the relationship between imagery use and body image among a specific sample of female exercisers. However, the results do suggest that exercise imagery significantly predicts all four types of efficacy belief types (Efficacy Expectancy, Outcome Expectancy, Outcome Value, and Self-presentational Efficacy). Further examination of the suggested relationships in the applied model is needed.

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Shannon Bezoian, W. Jack Rejeski and Edward McAuley

The present study examined the role that preexisting efficacy cognitions played in the generation of exercise-induced feeling states during and following an acute bout of exercise. In so doing, the construct validity of a newly developed measure of psychological responses to exercise, the Exercise-Induced Feeling Inventory (EFI; Gauvin & Rejeski, 1993), was investigated. Female undergraduates, classified as having either high or low physical efficacy, engaged in an acute exercise bout and feeling states were recorded prior to, during, and following the activity. More efficacious females maintained a sense of energy during exercise and felt more revitalized and experienced increased positive engagement postexercise than did their less efficacious counterparts. Such findings provide further support for a social-cognitive interpretation of how psychological responses to physical activity might be generated. Results are further discussed in terms of the measurement of exercise-induced feeling states and future applications of the EFI.

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Jeff Huber

Previous research has identified specific differences in cognition between experts and novices in problem-solving domains. To address the question of whether similar distinctions exist among springboard divers, six differences in problem representation and four differences in procedural knowledge were studied in elite and nonelite springboard divers. Subjects reported their thoughts immediately following dive performance. Verbal reports were converted into problem representations and production rules. Analysis of the representations and production rules revealed differences between elite and nonelite divers consistent with distinctions found between expert and novice problem-solvers. Elite problem representations contained more higher order concepts than nonelite representations. Moreover, the elite representations were more richly embedded, containing more concepts, features, and interrelations than the nonelite representations. Also, elite divers cited more production rules than nonelite divers. Elite production rules displayed a greater degree of sophistication in discrimination, proceduralization, composition, and strengthening.

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Deborah Kendzierski and Wendy Johnson

Three studies investigated the reliability and construct validity of the Exercise Thoughts Questionnaire (ETQ), an instrument developed to assess the frequency with which individuals have thoughts involving reasons or excuses for not exercising at the present time. Such cognitions are hypothesized to interfere with exercise behavior. Study 1 involved 164 college women; Study 2, 209 undergraduates; and Study 3, 196 undergraduates. Analyses revealed that the ETQ has good internal consistency and test-retest reliability. ETQ scores related in theoretically meaningful ways to exercise intentions, previous exercise experience, the number of days participants considered exercising but did not actually exercise, and both concurrent and prospective self-reports of exercise behavior. Exploratory analyses revealed that women reported a higher frequency of thoughts involving reasons or excuses for not exercising than men and that students who participated in collegiate, intramural, or club sports having required practices reported a lower frequency of such thoughts.

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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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Lawrence R. Brawley and Kathleen A. Martin

Over the past three decades, an interface has developed between sport and social psychology, characterized primarily by commonly utilized concepts and theories. The list of social psychological benefits to sport psychology is lengthy and includes theory, hypotheses, research paradigms, general independent and dependent variables, methods, and measures. In this paper, the following areas of sport research are used to illustrate the interface between sport and social psychology: (a) social facilitation and cohesion as two social influence phenomena, (b) anxiety and goal orientations as personality moderators of social behavior, and (c) self-efficacy beliefs and attitudes as social cognitions relevant to motivated behavior. Each of these areas are discussed in terms of social psychology’s impact on its development as a line of research in sport and in terms of the recent contributions each has made in return to social psychology. The general nature of the interface of social and sport psychology is also discussed.