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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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Panteleimon Ekkekakis

Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) presents an appealing option for investigating hemodynamic changes in the cerebral cortex during exercise. This review examines the physical basis of NIRS and the types of available instruments. Emphasis is placed on the physiological interpretation of NIRS signals. Theories from affective neuroscience and exercise psychobiology, including Davidson's prefrontal asymmetry hypothesis, Dietrich's transient hypofrontality hypothesis, and Ekkekakis's dual-mode model, are reviewed, highlighting the potential for designing NIRS-based tests in the context of exercise. Findings from 28 studies involving acute bouts of exercise are summarized. These studies suggest that the oxygenation of the prefrontal cortex increases during mild-to-moderate exercise and decreases during strenuous exercise, possibly proximally to the respiratory compensation threshold. Future studies designed to test hypotheses informed by psychological theories should help elucidate the significance of these changes for such important concepts as cognition, affect, exertion, and central fatigue.

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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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Brenda Jo Bredemeier

A structural-developmental approach was employed in the present study to investigate athletes' moral cognitions about intentionally injurious sport acts. Analyses were based on interviews with 40 female and male high school and college basketball players. Subjects reasoned about general life and sport-specific moral dilemmas and made judgments in hypothetical and engaged contexts about the legitimacy of sport behaviors presented in the Continuum of Injurious Acts (CIA). Athletes' moral reasoning levels were inversely related to the number of CIA acts they perceived as legitimate; this reasoning-judgment relationship was particularly strong for sport reasoning and judgments made in the hypothetical context. Also, differences in the perceived legitimacy of CIA acts occurred in hypothetical and engaged contexts and as a function of sex and, in the engaged condition, school level. Results were discussed in light of athletes' coordination of moral reasoning and decision-making about intentionally injurious sport acts.

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Howard K. Hall, Mobert S. Weinberg and Allen Jackson

The purpose of the present investigation was twofold: first, to examine the relationship between goal difficulty, goal specificity, and endurance performance in a physical activity setting, and second, to determine the relationship between different types of information feedback, goals, and performance. Subjects (N = 94) performed on a hand dynamometer endurance task, being asked to hold a one-third maximum contraction for as long as possible. The subjects were randomly assigned to one of the following goal-setting conditions: (a) Do your best, (b) improve by 40 s, or (c) improve by 70 s. They were provided with either concurrent or terminal feedback in a 2 x 3 x 2 (feedback x goals x trials) design. Performance results indicated a significant goals-by-trials interaction with the 40- and 70-s goal groups exhibiting significantly more improvement than the "do your best" group. No significant performance differences were found between the two feedback groups. However, significant differences in the performance-associated cognitions of the feedback groups indicated a preference for concurrent feedback as an adjunct to goals. Results are discussed in terms of Locke's goal-setting theory as well as some recent field research investigating the goal-setting performance relationship in physical education settings.

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Ralf Brand, Gerhard Schmidt and Yvonne Schneeloch

In a study on penalty decisions in soccer, Plessner and Betsch (2001) refer to a social cognition framework and demonstrate that referees’ initial decisions exert an undesirable impact on later decisions. Mascarenhas, Collins, and Mortimer (2002) criticize this work for an error in the attribution of its findings. In their view, the referees’ efforts to manage games by permanently adjusting decisions to the actual flow of a game have been underestimated. In the present experiment, 113 elite (i.e., first and second league) basketball referees made decisions on videotaped contact situations. These were presented either in their original game sequence or as random successions of individual scenes. Results showed that referees in the condition with the removed sequential context awarded more rigorous sanctions than their colleagues. Findings are interpreted as an instance of empirical evidence for what Mascarenhas et al. (2002) have described as game management. It is argued that the idea of game management should be modeled and further explored within the theoretical concept of social information processing.

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Sean P. Deeny, Charles H. Hillman, Christopher M. Janelle and Bradley D. Hatfield

Electroencephalographic (EEG) coherence was assessed during a 4-s aiming period prior to trigger pull in expert marksmen (n = 10) and skilled shooters (n = 9) over the course of a regulation round of small-bore rifle shooting. Although both groups were highly experienced, the skilled group had lower ability. Given that specialization of cortical function occurs as domain-specific expertise increases, experts were predicted to exhibit less cortico-cortical communication, especially between cognitive and motor areas, compared to the skilled group. Coherence was assessed for three frequency bands (low alpha, 8–10 Hz; high alpha, 10–13 Hz; and low beta, 13–22 Hz) using sites F3, Fz, F4, C3, Cz, C4, T3, T4, P3, Pz, P4, O1, and O2. Compared to the skilled group, experts exhibited lower coherence between left temporal (T3) and mid-line frontal (Fz) regions for low-alpha and low-beta frequencies, lower coherence for high-alpha between all left hemisphere sites and (Fz), and lower coherence between T3 and all midline sites for the low-beta band. The results reveal that, compared to lesser skilled shooters, experts engage in less cortico-cortical communication, particularly between left temporal association and motor control regions, which implies decreased involvement of cognition with motor processes.

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Robert J. Vallerand

In line with various cognitive theories of emotion, Vallerand (1983, 1984) has proposed an intuitive-reflective appraisal model for self-related affects in achievement situations. A fundamental postulate of the model states that it is the cognitive evaluation of events and not events per se that produces emotions. Such cognitive evaluation can be seen as intuitive (almost automatic) and reflective (deliberate) in nature. Whereas the intuitive appraisal is akin to one's almost automatic subjective assessment of performance, the reflective appraisal is hypothesized to include several forms: (a) intellectualization, (b) comparison (self, outcome, and social) processes, (c) mastery-related cognitions, (d) information processing functions, and (e) causal attributions. Two studies tested some of the model's postulates in field (Study 1) and laboratory (Study 2) settings. Results showed support for some of the model's postulates in that both the intuitive and reflective attributional appraisals were found to have important effects on self- and general-type affects. In addition, perceptions of success/failure (the intuitive appraisal of performance) had more potent effects on affects than did objective success/failure. On the other hand, the intellectualization reflective appraisal (task importance) did not have appreciable effects on affects. Results are discussed in light of the intuitive-reflective appraisal model, and implications for future studies on emotion in sport are underscored.

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Tara K. Scanlan and Rebecca Lewthwaite

This field study investigated the influence and stability of individual difference and situational factors on the competitive stress experienced by 9- to 14-year-old wrestlers. Stress was assessed by the children's form of the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory and was measured immediately before and after each of two consecutive tournament matches. Wrestlers' dispositions, characteristic precompetition cognitions, perceptions of significant adult influences, psychological states, self-perceptions, and competitive outcomes were examined as predictors of pre- and postmatch anxiety in separate multiple regression analyses for each tournament round. The most influential and stable predictors of prematch stress for both matches were competitive trait anxiety and personal performance expectancies, while win-loss and fun experienced during the match predicted postmatch stress for both rounds. In addition, prematch worries about failure and perceived parental pressure to participate were predictive of round 1 prematch stress. Round 1 postmatch stress levels predicted stress after round 2, suggesting some consistency in children's stress responses. In total, 61 and 35% of prematch and 41 and 32% of postmatch state anxiety variance was explained for rounds 1 and 2, respectively.

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Johanna Eronen, Mikaela von Bonsdorff, Merja Rantakokko, Erja Portegijs, Anne Viljanen and Taina Rantanen

Life-space mobility describes the extent of community mobility of older persons. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to examine the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and life-space mobility and to investigate whether associations might be explained by SES-related disparities in health and functioning. The participants (n = 848) were community-dwelling adults aged 75–90. Education and occupation were used to indicate SES. Life-space assessment (range 0–120) was used to indicate distance and frequency of moving and assistance needed in moving. People with low education had lower life-space mobility scores than those with intermediate or high education: marginal means 63.5, 64.8, and 70.0 (p = .003), respectively. SES-related health disparities, i.e., higher body mass index, poorer cognitive capacity, and poorer physical performance explained the association, rendering it nonsignificant (marginal means 65.2, 65.3, and 67.5, p = .390). Low SES and restricted life-space mobility often coexist with overweight, reduced cognition, and poorer physical performance.