When we watch other people perform actions, this involves many interacting processes comprising cognitive, motor, and visual system interactions. These processes change based on the context of our observations, particularly if the actions are novel and our intention is to learn those actions so we can later reproduce them, or respond to them in an effective way. Over the past 20 years or so I have been involved in research directed at understanding how we learn from watching others, what information guides this learning, and how our learning experiences, whether observational or physical, impact our subsequent observations of others, particularly when we are engaged in action prediction. In this review I take a historical look at action observation research, particularly in reference to motor skill learning, and situate my research, and those of collaborators and students, among the common theoretical and methodological frameworks of the time.
Svenja A. Wolf, Mark A. Eys, Pamela Sadler and Jens Kleinert
Athletes’ precompetitive appraisal is important because it determines emotions, which may impact performance. When part of a team, athletes perform their appraisal within a social context, and in this study we examined whether perceived team cohesion, as a characteristic of this context, related to appraisal. We asked 386 male and female intercollegiate team-sport athletes to respond to measures of cohesion and precompetitive appraisal before an in-season game. For males and females, across all teams, (a) an appraisal of increased competition importance was predicted by perceptions of higher task cohesion (individual level), better previous team performance, and a weaker opponent (team level) and (b) an appraisal of more positive prospects for coping with competitive demands was predicted by higher individual attractions to the group (individual level). Consequently, athletes who perceive their team as more cohesive likely appraise the pending competition as a challenge, which would benefit both emotions and performance.
Laura Azzarito, Mara Simon and Risto Marttinen
In today’s school climate of accountability, researchers in Physical Education (PE) pedagogy have contested current fitness curricula that aim to manage, control, and normalize young people’s bodies. This participatory visual research incorporated a Body Curriculum into a fitness unit in a secondary school (a) to assist young people critically deal with the media narratives of perfect bodies they consume in their daily lives, and (b) to examine how participants responded to a Body Curriculum. It was found that while participants rejected media fabrications of the “ideal body” and the “unhealthy” ideals they circulate in society, they recognized the difficulty of not being “caught up” in media storytelling. Participants’ views of their own bodies, however, were not malleable, but rooted in narrow, fixed heteronormative white ideals of “looking a certain way” to “fit” society norms of physical appearance and attractiveness. The benefits and limitations of implementing a Body Curriculum are recognized.
Joanne C. MacLean and Packianathan Chelladurai
The purpose of this study was to define the dimensions of coaching performance for coaches and to develop a scale to measure those dimensions. The literature-based model used in this study espoused the use of three broad categories—behavioral product factors, behavioral process factors related to the task, and behavioral process factors related to maintenance of the organization. Each of these broad categories was further subdivided into two classes to yield a model of six dimensions of coaching performance. The dimensions explored were (a) team products, (b) personal products, (c) direct task behaviors, (d) indirect task behaviors, (e) administrative maintenance behaviors, and (f) public relations behaviors. Seventy-seven administrators and 363 coaches from Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union institutions responded to the coaching performance scale for the purposes of this study. Item-to-total correlations, confirmatory factor analysis, and internal consistency estimates supported the conceptual model and yielded a psychometrically sound Scale of Coaching Performance (SCP).
Steven Paul Coen and Benjamin M. Ogles
Several aspects of obligatory running are examined with particular emphasis on the anorexia analogue hypothesis. The psychometric characteristics of the Obligatory Exercise Questionnaire were examined in a preliminary study. The OEQ is unrelated to socially desirable responding and has adequate reliability and validity. Data were collected from a second sample to identify obligatory and nonobligatory runners. Validation of the obligatory construct is examined by comparing demographic and training differences between obligatory and nonobligatory runners. Obligatory runners train more miles, days, and hours per week; have faster finishing times; are more likely to continue running when injured; and report feeling higher levels of anxiety when not running. The anorexia analogue hypothesis is examined by comparing the personality characteristics of obligatory and nonobligatory male marathon runners. Obligatory and nonobligatory runners were not significantly different on measures of identity diffusion or trait anger. They were significantly different on measures of perfectionism and trait anxiety.
Donna J. Kuga
This study examined faculty perceptions of (a) the impact of intercollegiate athletics on institutional goals and educational experiences, (b) the role and influence of faculty regarding athletics, and (c) the factors influencing their willingness (or unwillingness) to participate in the governance of intercollegiate athletics. The study also investigated differences in faculty reactions among subgroups defined by gender, faculty status, and previous athletic participation. A sample of 240 faculty from a Big Ten Conference university responded to a mailed questionnaire. Factor analyses yielded 2 factors in impact of intercollegiate athletics, 2 factors in role and influence, 3 factors in reasons for faculty involvement, and 6 factors in reasons for lack of faculty involvement. MANOVA results indicated that those who had participated in athletics perceived greater Educational Contribution of athletics and less Value Conflicts between athletics and academics than those who had not participated in athletics.
Maria Kavussanu and Christopher M. Spray
This study examined the network of relationships among moral atmosphere, perceived performance motivational climate, and moral functioning of male youth football players. Participants were 325 footballers recruited from 24 teams of a youth football league. They responded to scenarios describing cheating and aggressive behaviors likely to occur during a football game by indicating their moral judgment, intention, and behavior, which represented moral functioning. The moral atmosphere of the team and participants’ perceptions of the team’s performance motivational climate were also measured. Structural equation modeling indicated that perceptions of an atmosphere condoning cheating and aggressive behaviors were associated with views that a performance motivational climate is salient in the team, while both moral atmosphere and perceived performance climate corresponded to low levels of moral functioning in football. The findings are discussed in terms of their implications for eliminating unsportsmanlike conduct from sport.
Adrienne Brown and Mohammad Siahpush
Regular physical activity reduces the risk of a number of diseases, prevents obesity, and has positive psychological effects. Approximately one-third of the Australian population has been reported as totally sedentary. We investigated socioeconomic predictors of being sedentary in a nationally representative sample of Australian adults.
We analyzed data from 8643 females and 7600 males who responded to the 2001 National Health Survey. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine the association of being sedentary with a range of socioeconomic measures.
Adjusting for demographics, body-mass index, and smoking, we found that low socioeconomic status, indicated by low education level, blue-collar occupation, low income and area social disadvantage, increased the probability that people were sedentary.
This research highlights that targeting people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds with strategies to increase participation in physical activity may reduce morbidity and mortality associated with being sedentary.
Régis Lobjois, Nicolas Benguigui and Jean Bertsch
This study examined the effect of tennis playing on the coincidence timing (CT) of older adults. Young, younger-old and older-old (20–30, 60–69, and 70–79 years old, respectively) tennis players and nonplayers were asked to synchronize a simple response (pressing a button) with the arrival of a moving stimulus at a target. Results showed that the older tennis players responded with a slight bias similar to that of the young players. Two experiments were conducted to determine whether the elimination of age effects through tennis playing was a result of maintaining basic perceptuomotor and perceptual processes or of some possible compensation strategy. The results revealed that the age-related increase in the visuomotor delay was significantly correlated with CT performance in older nonplayers but not in older tennis players. These results suggest that playing tennis is beneficial to older adults, insofar as they remained as accurate as younger ones despite less efficient perceptuomotor processes. This supports the compensation hypothesis.
Patrick Walsh and Antonio Williams
While athletes have been building and leveraging their brands for many years by introducing brand extensions, research on sport brand extensions has primarily focused on factors that influence the success of team-related extensions. However, as there is potential risk involved when introducing brand extensions, it is important for athletes to understand how consumers respond to extensions they may introduce. Through the use of self-administered web-based surveys this study provides the initial examination of this topic by exposing participants (n = 292) to hypothetical brand extensions and investigating factors that may influence perceived fit and attitudes toward athlete brand extensions. Partial least squares path modeling suggests that athlete prestige had the most significant effect on fit and attitudes for a brand extension that is considered to be a fit with an athlete’s image, while athlete attachment had the most influence on fit and attitudes for a brand extension with low perceived fit.