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Karen Davranche and Aurélien Pichon

The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of an incremental test to exhaustion on sensory sensitivity using critical flicker fusion (CFF) frequency. The CFF threshold, tympanic temperature, and heart rate were measured before and immediately after an incremental cycling test of maximal oxygen uptake. Deterioration in perceptual processes linked to fatigue were not observed in the present study. On the contrary, results indicated that incremental exhausting exercise increases the sensory sensitivity threshold, thereby suggesting an exercise-induced increase in cortical arousal. Furthermore, the absence of change in subjective judgment threshold suggests that change observed immediately after exercise was not linked to a change of strategy (more cautious or more risky). The CFF threshold protocols appear to be relevant for assessing the effect of exercise on sensory sensitivity and cortical arousal.

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Martina Kanning and Wolfgang Schlicht

The positive effects of physical activity on mood are well documented in cross-sectional studies. To date there have been only a few studies analyzing within-subject covariance between physical activity and mood in everyday life. This study aims to close this gap using an ambulatory assessment of mood and physical activity. Thirteen participants completed a standardized diary over a 10-week period, resulting in 1,860 measurement points. Valence, energetic arousal, and calmness are the three subscales of mood that were assessed. Participants rated their mood promptly after self-selected activities. A multilevel analysis indicates that the three dimensions of mood were positively affected by episodes of physical activity, such as walking or gardening—valence: t(12) = 5.6, p < .001; energetic arousal: t(12) = 2.4, p = .033; calmness: t(12) = 2.8, p = .015. Moreover, the association is affected by the individual baseline mood level, with the greatest effect seen when mood is depressed.

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Laura Yan Lan and Diane L. Gill

The influence of self-efficacy on physiological arousal and self-reported anxiety was examined in the first phase of this study. All 32 undergraduate females in the study performed five trials of both an easy task and a difficult task, with half of them performing the easy task first and half performing the difficult task first. A manipulation check revealed that the easy task clearly elicited higher self-efficacy than the difficult task. Individuals reported lower cognitive and somatic anxiety and higher self-confidence, as assessed with the CSAI-2, and had lower heart-rate increases when performing the easy (high-efficacious) task. After the subjects finished both the easy and difficult tasks, half of them were given a cognitive feedback manipulation suggesting that elevated arousal levels were typical responses of good competitors under stress. Contrary to predictions, the manipulation did not induce higher self-efficacy and the manipulation group did not differ from the no-manipulation group on self-reported anxiety scores or heart rates. The findings support Bandura's contention that self-efficacy mediates arousal changes and demonstrate the influence of self-efficacy on multidimensional anxiety measures, but fail to demonstrate any influence of a cognitive feedback manipulation on self-efficacy or subsequent stress responses.

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Mark H. Anshel and Craig A. Wrisberg

In the present study an attempt was made to determine the relative effectiveness of various warm-up activities in eliminating postrest warm-up decrement (WUD) in the tennis serve. Seventy highly-skilled players hit 20 serves, rested for either 5 or 15 min, and then attempted 4 final serves. During the last 2 min of the rest period, players continued to rest, ran in place, engaged in mental imagery, performed practice swings, or repeatedly hit the ball against the ground and caught it. In addition to estimates of serving accuracy, measures of somatic and cognitive arousal were obtained at the beginning and end of the rest interval. Multiple regression procedures revealed that reductions in WUD were significantly related to the restoration of prerest arousal levels. Between-group comparisons indicated that practice swings were the most effective warm-up activity for restoring somatic and cognitive arousal to prerest levels and for eliminating WUD. Theoretical discussion centered on possible applications of Nacson and Schmidt's (1971) activity-set hypothesis to the tennis serve.

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Terri S. Graham-Paulson, Claudio Perret, Phil Watson and Victoria L. Goosey-Tolfrey

Purpose:

Caffeine can be beneficial during endurance and repeated-sprint exercise in able-bodied individuals performing leg or wholebody exercise. However, little evidence exists regarding its effects during upper-body exercise. This study therefore aimed to investigate the effects of caffeine on sprint (SPR) and 4-min maximal-push (PUSH) performance in wheelchair sportsmen.

Methods:

Using a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover design, 12 male wheelchair rugby players (age 30.0 ± 7.7 y, body mass 69.6 ± 15.3 kg, training 11.1 ± 3.5 h/wk) completed 2 exercise trials, separated by 7–14 d, 70 min after ingestion of 4 mg/kg caffeine (CAF) or dextrose placebo (PLA). Each trial consisted of four 4-min PUSHes and 3 sets of 3 × 20-m SPRs, each separated by 4 min rest. Participants responded to the Felt Arousal (a measure of perceived arousal), Feeling (a measure of the affective dimension of pleasure/displeasure), and rating-of-perceived-exertion (RPE) scales. Salivary caffeine secretion rates were measured.

Results:

Average SPR times were faster during CAF than PLA during SPR 1 and SPR 2 (P = .037 and .016). There was no influence of supplementation on PUSHes 2–4 (P > .099); however, participants pushed significantly farther during PUSH 1 after CAF than after PLA (mean ± SD 677 ± 107 and 653 ± 118 m, P = .047). There was no influence of CAF on arousal or RPE scores (P > .132). Feeling scores improved over the course of the CAF trial only (P = .017) but did not significantly differ between trials (P > .167). Pre-warm-up (45 min postingestion) salivary CAF secretion rates were 1.05 ± 0.94 and 0.08 ± 0.05 μg/min for CAF and PLA, respectively.

Conclusion:

Acute CAF supplementation can improve both 20-m-sprint performance and a 1-off bout of short-term endurance performance in wheelchair sportsmen.

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Fiona Barnett

Background:

This study examined the self-efficacy and affective responses to an acute exercise bout in sedentary older and younger women to determine whether aging has an effect on affective states.

Methods:

Twenty-five sedentary younger (mean age = 19.9 yrs) and 25 older (mean age = 55.7 yrs) women completed an acute bout of exercise. Affective responses were measured before, during, and immediately following exercise. Self-efficacy responses were measured before and immediately following exercise.

Results:

Positive engagement, revitalization, tranquility, Felt Arousal and Feeling Scale responses, and self-efficacy were all higher immediately following compared with before or during exercise for both groups of women. In addition, older women experienced higher overall positive engagement and lower physical exhaustion compared with younger women as well as higher tranquility and Feeling Scale responses immediately following exercise.

Conclusions:

This investigation found that an acute bout of moderate-intensity exercise produced more positive and fewer negative affective states in both younger and older women.

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Liam Johnson, Patricia K. Addamo, Isaac Selva Raj, Erika Borkoles, Victoria Wyckelsma, Elizabeth Cyarto and Remco C. Polman

There is evidence that an acute bout of exercise confers cognitive benefits, but it is largely unknown what the optimal mode and duration of exercise is and how cognitive performance changes over time after exercise. We compared the cognitive performance of 31 older adults using the Stroop test before, immediately after, and at 30 and 60 min after a 10 and 30 min aerobic or resistance exercise session. Heart rate and feelings of arousal were also measured before, during, and after exercise. We found that, independent of mode or duration of exercise, the participants improved in the Stroop Inhibition task immediately postexercise. We did not find that exercise influenced the performance of the Stroop Color or Stroop Word Interference tasks. Our findings suggest that an acute bout of exercise can improve cognitive performance and, in particular, the more complex executive functioning of older adults.

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John M. Silva III

The data presented in this study indicate that self-reported concentration levels of volunteer undergraduate students (N = 122) are affected by the type of behavior exhibited by a performer (i.e., hostile aggression or proactive assertion) and by the nature of the social environmental setting (i.e., sport or nonsport competition). Also demonstrated was a relationship between self-report levels of concentration and subject performance in both a nonsport and sport setting. Concentration was negatively affected by aroused, angry behavior and by a social environmental setting of considerable complexity and stress. Subject performance was superior in situations where concentration levels were elevated. The results suggest that concentration is an influential factor in skilled performance and is sensitive to variations in overt behavior and social environmental settings. Future research should focus on additional factors that tend to disrupt the state of concentration as well as factors that may enhance it.

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Charles H. Hillman, Bruce N. Cuthbert, Margaret M. Bradley and Peter J. Lang

Psychophysiological responses of two rival sport fan groups were assessed within the context of Lang’s biphasic theory of emotion. Twenty-four participants, placed in two groups based on their identification with local sport teams, viewed 6 pictures from 6 categories: team-relevant pleasant sport, team-irrelevant sport, team-relevant unpleasant sport, erotica, household objects, and mutilation. Fans rated appetitive sport pictures higher in pleasure and arousal compared to aversive sport pictures. Physiological measures (startle probe-P3, the startle eye-blink reflex, slow cortical potentials to picture onset, and skin conductance) differentiated both appetitive and aversive team-relevant categories from team-irrelevant pictures, and increased orbicularis oculi EMG was found only for team-relevant appetitive pictures. These results suggest there are differences between rival sport fans in response to the same pictorial stimuli, and further suggest that fans provide an ideal population in which to measure motivation toward appetitive stimuli.

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Fabio E. Fontana, Oldemar Mazzardo, Comfort Mokgothu, Ovande Furtado Jr. and Jere D. Gallagher

The aim of this study was to examine the decision-making performance of experienced and inexperienced soccer players at four exercise intensities (rest, 40%, 60%, and 80% maximal aerobic power). The decision-making performance of inexperienced players was expected to demonstrate an inverted-U shape with increasing levels of exercise. For the experienced players, decision making was predicted to show no change in performance with increased exercise intensity. Thirty-two adult soccer players (16 experienced, 16 inexperienced) were asked to answer seven decision-making questions as quickly and accurately as possible for each exercise intensity. Results indicated that exercise does not affect the accuracy of decision making; however, the speed of decision making for experienced and inexperienced players improved with increased exercise intensity. These results suggest that physiologically induced arousal only affects speed of decision making.