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Yu-Kai Chang and Jennifer L. Etnier

The purpose of this study was to explore the dose-response relationship between resistance exercise intensity and cognitive performance. Sixty-eight participants were randomly assigned into control, 40%, 70%, or 100% of 10-repetition maximal resistance exercise groups. Participants were tested on Day 1 (baseline) and on Day 2 (measures were taken relative to performance of the treatment). Heart rate, ratings of perceived exertion, self-reported arousal, and affect were assessed on both days. Cognitive performance was assessed on Day 1 and before and following treatment on Day 2. Results from regression analyses indicated that there is a significant linear effect of exercise intensity on information processing speed, and a significant quadratic trend for exercise intensity on executive function. Thus, there is a dose-response relationship between the intensity of resistance exercise and cognitive performance such that high-intensity exercise benefits speed of processing, but moderate intensity exercise is most beneficial for executive function.

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Adrian Taylor, Magdalena Katomeri and Michael Ussher

The study examined whether walking can mimic the effects of nicotine during temporary abstinence, by eliciting changes in mood and affect and by reducing cravings. In a randomized crossover design, 15 participants did a self-paced 1-mile walk or sat passively on separate days. A repeated-measures ANOVA revealed a significant reduction in desire to smoke during and for up to 20 min following exercise. Further MANOVAs and univariate ANOVAs revealed significant interaction effects for time-by-condition for tension, and affective valence and activation. Walking reduced tension and increased affective valence and activation during and up to 20 min after exercise, but increased activation only at the end of exercise. ANCOVAs revealed that exercise-induced reductions in cravings were mediated through reduced tension. Walking should be recommended for reducing cravings, but further research is needed to understand whether the arousing properties of exercise can help manage cravings.

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Daniel T. Bishop, Costas I. Karageorghis and Georgios Loizou

The main objectives of this study were (a) to elucidate young tennis players’ use of music to manipulate emotional states, and (b) to present a model grounded in present data to illustrate this phenomenon and to stimulate further research. Anecdotal evidence suggests that music listening is used regularly by elite athletes as a preperformance strategy, but only limited empirical evidence corroborates such use. Young tennis players (N = 14) were selected purposively for interview and diary data collection. Results indicated that participants consciously selected music to elicit various emotional states; frequently reported consequences of music listening included improved mood, increased arousal, and visual and auditory imagery. The choice of music tracks and the impact of music listening were mediated by a number of factors, including extramusical associations, inspirational lyrics, music properties, and desired emotional state. Implications for the future investigation of preperformance music are discussed.

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Tara Edwards and Lew Hardy

This study examines intensity and direction of competitive state anxiety symptoms, and the interactive influence of anxiety subcomponents upon netball performance. Netball players (N = 45) completed the modified Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (CSAI-2) and a retrospective performance measure over a season, utilizing an intraindividual design. The modified CSAI-2 includes a direction scale assessing the facilitative or debilitative interpretation of the original intensity symptoms. Although the facilitative influence of anxiety upon performance did not emerge directly through the direction scale, a significant interaction emerged from the two-factor Cognitive Anxiety × Physiological Arousal quadrant analyses, suggesting that anxiety may enhance performance, as proposed by catastrophe model predictions. Findings also highlighted the importance of self-confidence for possible inclusion in higher order catastrophe models.

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Christopher M. Janelle, Robert N. Singer and A. Mark Williams

We examined distraction and attentional narrowing in a dual-task auto-racing simulation. Participants were randomly assigned to six groups: distraction control, distraction anxiety, relevant control, relevant anxiety, central control, and central anxiety. Those in central conditions performed a driving task; the other four groups identified peripheral lights in addition to driving. Irrelevant peripheral lights were included in distraction conditions. Participants in anxiety conditions were exposed to increasing levels of anxiety via a time-to-event paradigm. In 3 sessions of 20 trials, measures of cognitive anxiety, arousal. visual search patterns, and performance were recorded. At higher levels of anxiety, the identification of peripheral lights became slower and less accurate. and significant performance decrements occurred in central and peripheral tasks. Furthermore, visual search patterns were more eccentric in the distraction anxiety group. Results suggest that drivers who are highly anxious experience an altered ability to acquire peripheral information at the perceptual level.

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Tara Edwards and Lew Hardy

This study examines intensity and direction of competitive state anxiety symptoms, and the interactive influence of anxiety subcomponents upon netball performance. Netball players (N = 45) completed the modified Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (CSAI-2) and a retrospective performance measure over a season, utilizing an intraindividual design. The modified CSAI-2 includes a direction scale assessing the facilitative or debilitative interpretation of the original intensity symptoms. Although the facilitative influence of anxiety upon performance did not emerge directly through the direction scale, a significant interaction emerged from the two-factor Cognitive Anxiety × Physiological Arousal quadrant analyses, suggesting that anxiety may enhance performance, as proposed by catastrophe model predictions. Findings also highlighted the importance of self-confidence for possible inclusion in higher order catastrophe models.

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Carole Castanier, Christine Le Scanff and Tim Woodman

Sensation seeking has been widely studied when investigating individual differences in the propensity for taking risks. However, risk taking can serve many different goals beyond the simple management of physiological arousal. The present study is an investigation of affect self-regulation as a predictor of risk-taking behaviors in high-risk sport. Risk-taking behaviors, negative affectivity, escape self-awareness strategy, and sensation seeking data were obtained from 265 high-risk sportsmen. Moderated hierarchical regression analysis revealed significant main and interaction effects of negative affectivity and escape self-awareness strategy in predicting risk-taking behaviors: high-risk sportsmen’s negative affectivity leads them to adopt risk-taking behaviors only if they also use escape self-awareness strategy. Furthermore, the affective model remained significant when controlling for sensation seeking. The present study contributes to an in-depth understanding of risk taking in high-risk sport.

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Jeffrey E. Hecker and Linda M. Kaczor

Bioinformational theory has been proposed by Lang (1979a), who suggests that mental images can be understood as products of the brain's information processing capacity. Imagery involves activation of a network of propositionally coded information stored in long-term memory. Propositions concerning physiological and behavioral responses provide a prototype for overt behavior. Processing of response information is associated with somatovisceral arousal. The theory has implications for imagery rehearsal in sport psychology and can account for a variety of findings in the mental practice literature. Hypotheses drawn from bioinformational theory were tested. College athletes imagined four scenes during which their heart rates were recorded. Subjects tended to show increases in heart rate when imagining scenes with which they had personal experience and which would involve cardiovascular activation if experienced in real life. Nonsignificant heart rate changes were found when the scene involved activation but was one with which subjects did not have personal experience.

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Christian Collet, Aymeric Guillot, Olivier Bolliet and André Dittmar

Purpose:

To examine the preparation phase for the snatch lift in Olympic weight lifting. Two behavioral periods were studied, each corresponding to specific mental processes: a stance in front of the bar and placement of hands on the bar. Each period was hypothesized to elicit different responses of autonomic-nervous-system activity.

Methods:

Twelve elite male subjects completed 12 lifts at 90% to 95% of their best grade after warm-up (80% of their best grade). Because peripheral autonomic-nervous-system activity is related to arousal and activation variation, 6 variables were continuously recorded: electrodermal (skin resistance and potential), thermovascular (skin temperature and skin blood flow), and cardiorespiratory (heart rate and respiratory frequency).

Results:

Responses (ie, phasic activities) were evident during the fi rst behavioral period. Decrease in heart rate (mean = 19 beats/min) or in respiratory frequency (mean = 8.6 beats/min) was related to attention processes. These responses were weaker (−0.16°C vs −0.25°C in skin temperature) and shorter (2.7 seconds vs 4.3 seconds in skin resistance) than those recorded during execution. The second phase showed variations in basal levels (mean increase in heart rate of 25%), related to increase in activation, thus attesting the muscle system’s process of preparation for effort.

Conclusion:

Weight lifters separated the preparation phase into 2 stages that were closely matched by different physiological activities. Weight lifting requires participants to share their mental resources among the 2 demanding concentration phases by first focusing their attention on the execution and then mobilizing energizing resources.

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Veronika Leichtfried, Friedrich Hanser, Andrea Griesmacher, Markus Canazei and Wolfgang Schobersberger

Context:

Demands on concentrative and cognitive performance are high in sport shooting and vary in a circadian pattern, aroused by internal and external stimuli. The most prominent external stimulus is light. Bright light (BL) has been shown to have a certain impact on cognitive and physical performance.

Purpose:

To evaluate the impact of a single half hour of BL exposure in the morning hours on physical and cognitive performance in 15 sport shooters. In addition, courses of sulfateoxymelatonin (aMT6s), tryptophan (TRP), and kynurenine (KYN) were monitored.

Methods:

In a crossover design, 15 sport shooters were exposed to 30 min of BL and dim light (DL) in the early-morning hours. Shooting performance, balance, visuomotor performance, and courses of aMT6s, TRP, and KYN were evaluated.

Results:

Shooting performance was 365.4 (349.7–381.0) and 368.5 (353.9–383.1), identical in both light setups. Numbers of right reactions (sustained attention) and deviations from the horizontal plane (balance-related measure) were higher after BL. TRP concentrations decreased from 77.5 (73.5–81.4) to 66.9 (60.7–67.0) in the DL setup only.

Conclusions:

The 2 light conditions generated heterogeneous visuomotor and physiological effects in sport shooters. The authors therefore suggest that a single half hour of BL exposure is effective in improving cognitive aspects of performance, but not physical performance. Further research is needed to evaluate BL’s impact on biochemical parameters.