Sport psychologists believe that contemporary sport’s pervasive preoccupation with winning may actually be responsible for athletes’ anxiety, motivation, and self-confidence problems. Winning is a goal that lacks the flexibility and control necessary for athletes to (a) achieve consistent success and (b) take credit for success. Martens and Burton (1982) concluded that performance goals (PGs) based on attaining personal performance standards offer the flexibility and control needed to develop high perceived ability and performance. Thus the purpose of this study was twofold: (a) to evaluate whether a goal setting training (GST) program could teach athletes to set appropriate PGs, and (b) to assess the impact of the GST program on the perceived ability, competitive cognitions, and performance of collegiate swimmers. A collegiate swim team (N=30) participated in a season-long GST program, and program effects were systematically evaluated with a multimethod approach using interteam, intrateam, and case study data. Interteam and case study data generally supported both predictions. Intrateam analyses revealed that high-accuracy GST swimmers demonstrated more optimal cognitions and performance than low-accuracy teammates, suggesting that goal setting skill mediated GST effectiveness.
Nicole L. Hoffman, Hannes Devos and Julianne D. Schmidt
Psychology . Boca Raton, FL : CRC Press ; 2011 : 1 – 11 . 31. Marcotte TD , Rosenthal TJ , Roberts E , et al . The contribution of cognition and spasticity to driving performance in multiple sclerosis . Arch Phys Med Rehabil . 2008 ; 89 ( 9 ): 1753 – 1758 . PubMed doi:10.1016/j.apmr.2007
Cay Anderson-Hanley, Molly Maloney, Nicole Barcelos, Kristina Striegnitz and Arthur Kramer
Dementia cases are on the rise and researchers seek innovative ways to prevent or ameliorate cognitive impairment in later life. Some research has reported that combining mental and physical exercise may benefit cognition more than either alone. This randomized pilot trial examined the feasibility and cognitive benefit for older adults (n = 30) of a single bout of neuro-exergaming (physical activity with cognitive training) using an interactive physical and cognitive exercise system (iPACES), compared with that of exergaming or neurogaming alone. Intent-to-treat and sensitivity analyses were conducted using repeated-measures ANOVA, controlling for age, sex, and education. A significant interaction effect was found for executive function (Color Trails 2), with a significant improvement in the neuro-exergaming condition. Results demonstrate feasibility for older adults to use a novel and theoretically-derived neuro-exergame, and also provide promising new evidence that neuro-exergaming can yield greater cognitive benefit than either of its component parts.
In exercise and cognition research, few studies have investigated whether and how the qualitative aspects of physical exercise may impact cognitive performance in the short or long term. This commentary, after recalling the evidence on the “dose-response” relationship, shifts the focus to intersections between different research areas that are proposed to shed light on how qualitative exercise characteristics can be used to obtain cognitive benefits. As concerns the acute exercise area, this commentary highlights the applied relevance of developmental and aging studies investigating the effects of exercise bouts differing in movement task complexity and cognitive demands. As regards the chronic exercise area, potential links to research on cognitive expertise in sport, functional ability in aging, and life skills training during development are discussed. “Gross-motor cognitive training” is proposed as a key concept with relevant implications for intervention strategies in childhood and older adulthood.
A. Justine Dowd, Toni Schmader, Benjamin D. Sylvester, Mary E. Jung, Bruno D. Zumbo, Luc J. Martin and Mark R. Beauchamp
The objective of the studies presented in this paper was to examine whether the need to belong can be used to enhance exercise cognitions and behavior. Two studies examined the effectiveness of framing exercise as a means of boosting social skills (versus health benefits) for self-regulatory efficacy, exercise intentions, and (in Study 2) exercise behavior. In Study 1, inactive adults primed to feel a lack of social belonging revealed that this manipulation led to greater self-regulatory efficacy (but not exercise intentions). In Study 2, involving a sample of inactive lonely adults, all participants reported engaging in more exercise; however, those in the social skills condition also reported a greater sense of belonging than those in the health benefits comparison condition. These findings provide an important basis for developing physical activity interventions that might be particularly relevant for people at risk for feeling socially isolated or lonely.
Benjamin A. Sibley and Jennifer L. Etnier
The purpose of this study was to quantitatively combine and examine the results of studies pertaining to physical activity and cognition in children. Studies meeting the inclusion criteria were coded based on design and descriptive characteristics, subject characteristics, activity characteristics, and cognitive assessment method. Effect sizes (ESs) were calculated for each study and an overall ES and average ESs relative to moderator variables were then calculated. ESs (n = 125) from 44 studies were included in the analysis. The overall ES was 0.32 (SD = 0.27), which was significantly different from zero. Significant moderator variables included publication status, subject age, and type of cognitive assessment. As a result of this statistical review of the literature, it is concluded that there is a significant positive relationship between physical activity and cognitive functioning in children.
Bryan L. Riemann and Kevin M. Guskiewicz
Mild head injury (MHI) represents one of the most challenging neurological pathologies occurring during athletic participation. Athletic trainers and sports medicine personnel are often faced with decisions about the severity of head injury and the timing of an athlete's return to play following MHI. Returning an athlete to competition following MHI too early can be a catastrophic mistake. This case study involves a 20-year-old collegiate football player who sustained three mild head injuries during one season. The case study demonstrates how objective measures of balance and cognition can be used when making decisions about returning an athlete to play following MHI. These measures can be used to supplement the subjective guidelines proposed by many physicians.
Daniel Gould, Robert C. Eklund and Susan A. Jackson
This study involved extensive interviews with all 20 members of the 1988 U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team about their performances in the Seoul Olympics. Qualitative research methodology and analyses were employed to acquire and preserve rich representations of these experiences. Mental preparation strategies, precompetitive cognition, and affect were examined by having the wrestlers respond to a series of questions about their all-time best match, worst Olympic match, and most crucial Olympic match. Considerable consistency was found across wrestlers’ responses regarding all-time best and worst Olympic matches whereas striking differences were found between the best and worst matches. For example, before best matches, wrestlers followed mental preparation plans and routines and were extremely confident, totally focused, and optimally aroused. They also focused on clear tactical strategies. Before worst matches, wrestlers were not confident, had inappropriate feeling states and experienced many task-irrelevant and negative thoughts, and deviated from preparation plans. These results are consistent with other research with Olympic athletes and suggest that precompetitive states play a critical role in competitive performance.
Naiman A. Khan and Charles H. Hillman
Physical inactivity has been shown to increase the risk for several chronic diseases across the lifespan. However, the impact of physical activity and aerobic fitness on childhood cognitive and brain health has only recently gained attention. The purposes of this article are to: 1) highlight the recent emphasis for increasing physical activity and aerobic fitness in children’s lives for cognitive and brain health; 2) present aspects of brain development and cognitive function that are susceptible to physical activity intervention; 3) review neuroimaging studies examining the cross-sectional and experimental relationships between aerobic fitness and executive control function; and 4) make recommendations for future research. Given that the human brain is not fully developed until the third decade of life, preadolescence is characterized by changes in brain structure and function underlying aspects of cognition including executive control and relational memory. Achieving adequate physical activity and maintaining aerobic fitness in childhood may be a critical guideline to follow for physical as well as cognitive and brain health.
Arnaud Dechamps, Chérifa Onifade, Arnaud Decamps and Isabelle Bourdel-Marchasson
No previous studies have explored the effects of mind–body approaches on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in the frail elderly. Cognition and action are an inseparable whole during functioning. Thus, a new intervention-based approach using familiarity-based movements and a nonjudgmental approach of “cognition-action” was proposed and was tested with Tai Chi on HRQoL in frail institutionalized elderly. Fifty-two participants (58% women) age 65–94 took part in a 24-wk Tai Chi (TC) intervention 4 days/wk or a cognition-action (CA) exercise program of 30 min twice a week. Changes in Mini Mental State score, physical (PCS) and mental component (MCS) summaries (SF12); Falls Efficacy Scale (FES); and exercise self-efficacy were explored. PCS improved from 33.6 ± 6.7 to 51 ± 4.8 in the TC group and from 30.6 ± 9.9 to 45.1 ± 10.2 in the CA group (p < .001). MCS of SF-12 (p < .001), FES (p < .001), and exercise self-efficacy (p < .01) were enhanced significantly in both groups. Adapted CA programs and Tai Chi were both efficient in improving HRQoL of frail elderly.