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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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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.

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David W. Eccles and Gershon Tenenbaum

The cognitive properties and processes of teams have not been considered in sport psychology research. These properties and processes extend beyond the sum of the cognitive properties and processes of the constituent members of the team to include factors unique to teams, such as team coordination and communication. A social-cognitive conceptual framework for the study of team coordination and communication is offered, based on research on social cognition and from industrial and organizational psychology. This is followed by a discussion of coordination and communication in expert teams. In addition, an overview of the type of methods that could be used to measure aspects of team coordination and communication in sport is provided. The framework and methods afford hypothesis generation for empirical research on coordination and communication in sport teams, a means to begin examining these constructs in sport, and a theoretical base with which to reconcile the resultant data.

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Pete Lindsay, Ian Maynard and Owen Thomas

Using a single-subject multiple baseline design, combined with assessments of participants’ internal experience (Wollman, 1986), the efficacy of a hypnotic intervention on flow state and competitive cycling performance was assessed in three elite cyclists. Intervention involved relaxation, imagery, hypnotic induction, hypnotic regression, and the conditioning of an unconscious trigger associated with the emotions of past peak performance. Ecologically valid performance measures were collected from British Cycling Federation (BCF) races, and the intensity of flow was assessed using Jackson and Marsh’s (1996) Flow State Scale (FSS). Results indicated that the number of BCF points gained per race was positively influenced in one participant, sporadically influenced in the second participant, and not influenced in the third participant. FSS scores during the intervention phase increased for one participant. These findings suggest that hypnotic interventions may improve elite competitive cycling performance and increase the feelings and cognitions associated with flow.

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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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David E. Vance, Virginia G. Wadley, Karlene K. Ball, Daniel L. Roenker and Matthew Rizzo

Physical activity has been shown to be positively associated with cognitive health, but the mechanisms underlying the benefits of physical activity on cognitive health are unclear. The present study simultaneously examined two hypotheses using structural equation modeling (SEM). The depression-reduction hypothesis states that depression suppresses cognitive ability and that physical activity alleviates dysphoric mood and thereby improves cognitive ability. The social-stimulation hypothesis posits that social contact, which is often facilitated by socially laden physical activities, improves cognitive functioning by stimulating the nervous system. Sedentary behavior in the absence of physical activity is expected to exert an inverse relationship on cognitive health through each of these hypotheses. Community-dwelling elders (N = 158) were administered a variety of measures of cognition, depression, social support, and physical activity. SEM techniques provided partial support for the social-stimulation hypothesis and depression-reduction hypothesis. Implications for treating depression and improving cognitive functioning are discussed.

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Patrick R. Thomas and Gerard J. Fogarty

Individual differences in cognitive preferences were examined in analyzing the effects of imagery and self-talk training on the psychological skills and performance levels of amateur golfers. Thirty-two men and women participated in a series of four counterbalanced training workshops and activities conducted over 2 months at two golf clubs. A repeated measures MANOVA revealed significant improvement on five psychological and psychomotor skills measured by the Golf Performance Survey: negative emotions and cognitions, mental preparation, automaticity, putting skill, and seeking improvement. Participants’ responses to the Sport Imagery Questionnaire and ratings of their imagery and self-talk techniques increased significantly after training. Players also lowered their handicaps and performed significantly better on a Golf Skills Test after training. Imagery and self-talk training benefits were not linked to participants’ cognitive preferences. The cognitive flexibility displayed by these golfers signals the need for more research on processing preferences and has implications for practitioners working with athletes.

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Andrew G. Wood, Jamie B. Barker and Martin J. Turner

Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT; Ellis, 1957) is a psychotherapeutic approach receiving increasing interest within sport. REBT is focused on identifying, disputing, and replacing irrational beliefs (IBs) with rational beliefs (RBs) to promote emotional well-being and goal achievement. This study provides a detailed case outlining the application and effect of seven one-to-one REBT sessions with an elite level archer who was experiencing performance-related anxiety, before and during competition. The case also offers an insight into common misconceptions, challenges, and guidance for those who may consider applying REBT within their practice. Data revealed meaningful short and long-term (6-months) reductions in IBs and improvements in RBs, self-efficacy, perception of control and archery performance. The case supports the effective application of REBT as an intervention with athletic performers, promoting lasting changes in an athlete’s ability to manage their cognitions, emotions and behaviors in the pursuit of performance excellence.

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Marc V. Jones

Emotions play a central role in sport performance. Accordingly, it is important that athletes are able to draw on a range of strategies to enhance emotional control. The present paper outlines a number of strategies based on Lazarus’ cognitive-motivational-relational theory of emotion. Strategies are outlined that aim to change cognitions, resulting in either a more appropriate emotional response or a suppression of the expression of emotion and any maladaptive behavioral consequences. These techniques comprise self-statement modification, imagery, socratic dialogue, corrective experiences, self-analysis, didactic approach, storytelling metaphors and poetry, reframing, cognitive paradox, and use of problem-solving skills. Furthermore, given the changes in physiological arousal accompanying certain emotions, it is also suggested that general arousal control strategies could play an important role in emotional control.

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Travis E. Dorsch, Alan L. Smith and Meghan H. McDonough

The purpose of this study was to enhance understanding of how parents are socialized by their children's organized youth sport participation. Five semistructured focus groups were conducted with youth sport parents (N = 26) and analyzed using qualitative methods based on Strauss and Corbin (1998). Sixty-three underlying themes reflected parents' perceived socialization experiences resulting from their children's organized youth sport participation. Each theme represented 1 of 11 subcategories of parental change, which were subsumed within four broad categories of parent sport socialization (behavior, cognition, affect, relationships). Each category of parental change was interconnected with the other three categories. Moreover, six potential moderators of parent sport socialization were documented, namely, child age, parent past sport experience, parent and child gender, child temperament, community sport context, and type of sport setting (individual or team). Together, these findings enhance understanding of parent sport socialization processes and outcomes, thus opening avenues for future research on parents in the youth sport setting.