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Jennifer Cumming, Sanna M. Nordin, Robin Horton and Scott Reynolds

The study investigated the impact of varying combinations of facilitative and debilitative imagery and self-talk (ST) on self-efficacy and performance of a dart-throwing task. Participants (N = 95) were allocated to 1 of 5 groups: (a) facilitative imagery/facilitative ST, (b) facilitative imagery/debilitative ST, (c) debilitative imagery/facilitative ST, (d) debilitative imagery/debilitative ST, or (e) control. Mixed-design ANOVAs revealed that performance, but not self-efficacy, changed over time as a function of the assigned experimental condition. Participants in the debilitative imagery/debilitative ST condition worsened their performance, and participants in the facilitative imagery/facilitative ST condition achieved better scores. These findings demonstrate that a combination of facilitative imagery and ST can enhance performance whereas debilitative imagery and ST can hamper it.

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Lew Hardy and Nichola Callow

Three experiments examined the relative efficacy of different imagery perspectives on the performance of tasks in which form was important. In Experiment 1,25 experienced karateists learned a new kata using either external or internal visual imagery or stretching. Results indicated that external visual imagery was significantly more effective than internal visual imagery, which was significantly more effective than stretching. In Experiment 2, 40 sport science students learned a simple gymnastics floor routine under one of four conditions: external or internal visual imagery with or without kinesthetic imagery. Results revealed a significant main effect for visual imagery perspective (external visual imagery was best) but no effect for kinesthetic imagery. Experiment 3 employed the same paradigm as Experiment 2 but with high-ability rock climbers performing difficult boulder problems. Results showed significant main effects for both visual imagery perspective (external visual imagery was best) and kinesthetic imagery. The findings are discussed in terms of the cognitive processes that might underlie imagery effects.

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Nicole Westlund Stewart and Craig Hall

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a 6-week CG imagery intervention on strategic decision-making in curling. A secondary purpose was to determine whether curlers’ imagery ability and CG imagery use would be improved. Eleven varsity curlers from a Canadian postsecondary institution engaged in weekly guided imagery sessions that were held at the curling club before their regularly scheduled team practices. Curlers’ response times on a computerized curling strategy assessment significantly improved from baseline to post-intervention (p < .05). In addition, their kinesthetic imagery ability, CG imagery use, and MG-M imagery use significantly increased (p < .05). These results suggest that when curlers are exposed to new scenarios, they learn to store, process, and retrieve relevant information quicker (Simon & Chase, 1973). From a practical standpoint, CG imagery training can improve curlers’ strategy performance, including their ability to use various strategies in game situations.

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Krista Munroe, Craig Hall, Sharon Simms and Robert Weinberg

Previous research (e.g., Barr & Hall, 1992) suggests that imagery is used differentially throughout an athlete’s competitive season. The influence of time of season (early vs. late) and type of sport (team vs. individual) on athletes’ use of imagery was examined. Male and female varsity athletes representing 10 sports completed the Sport Imagery Questionnaire (Hall, Mack, Paivio, & Hausenblas, in press) early and late in a competitive season. Results indicated that cognitive specific (CS) imagery significantly increased for fencing, field hockey, rugby, soccer, and wrestling. Motivational Specific (MS), Motivational General-Mastery (MG-M), and Motivational General-Arousal (MG-A) imagery showed a significant increase from Times 1 to 2 for rugby, soccer, and wrestling. Most sports demonstrated a significant increase in MS imagery. For all sports, except badminton, cognitive general (CG) imagery increased. Results indicate that imagery use changes during the competitive season, but this depends on the sport.

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Sian L. Beilock, James A. Afremow, Amy L. Rabe and Thomas H. Carr

The present study examined the impact of suppressive imagery (i.e., trying to avoid a particular error), the frequency of this suppression, and attempts to replace negative error-ridden images with positive ones on golf putting performance. Novice golfers (N = 126) were assigned to a no-imagery control group or to 1 of 6 groups in a 3 × 2 design, with imagery type (positive, suppression, suppression-replacement) and imagery frequency (before every putt, before every third putt) as factors. Results showed that the accuracy of the positive imagery group improved across imaging blocks—regardless of imagery frequency. The suppression and suppression-replacement imagery groups’ accuracy improved when imaging before every third putt, yet declined when imaging before every putt. These findings suggest that frequent application of suppressive imagery hurts performance and that attempting to replace negative images with corrective ones does not ameliorate the damage.

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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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Sanna M. Nordin and Jennifer Cumming

The effects of imagery direction on self-efficacy and performance in a dart throwing task were examined. Two imagery types were investigated: skill-based cognitive specific (CS) and confidence-based motivational general-mastery (MG-M). Seventy-five novice dart throwers were randomly allocated to one of three conditions: (a) facilitative imagery, (b) debilitative imagery, or (c) control. After 2 imagery interventions, the debilitative imagery group rated their self-efficacy significantly lower than the facilitative group and performed significantly worse than either the facilitative group or the control group. Efficacy ratings remained constant across trials for the facilitative group, but decreased significantly for both the control group and the debilitative group. Performance remained constant for the facilitative and the control groups but decreased significantly for the debilitative group. Similar to Short et al. (2002), our results indicate that both CS and MG-M imagery can affect self-efficacy and performance.

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Lucette Toussaint, Nicolas Robin and Yannick Blandin

We examined the similarities between actual and motor imagery practice with regard to the development of sensorimotor representations. Participants had to reproduce knee joint positions (15 or 150 trials) in visuo-proprioceptive or proprioceptive conditions (Experiment 1) or in visual, proprioceptive or visuo-proprioceptive imagery conditions (Experiment 2), before being transferred in a proprioceptive condition. A familiarization session in a proprioceptive condition was performed before imagery practice only (Experiment 2). Results showed that the effect of vision withdrawal varied according to actual or motor imagery practice: performance accuracy in transfer decreased after actual visuo-proprioceptive practice while it increased after visuo-proprioceptive imagery practice. These results suggest that different movement representations can be developed following actual or imagery practice. They also suggest that information from previous experience could be stored in a sensori-motor memory and could be fundamental for the efficiency of motor imagery practice.

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Rebecca Hare, Lynne Evans and Nichola Callow

The present study explored the perceived affect of personal and situational variables, perception of pain, and imagery ability on the function and outcome of an Olympic athlete’s use of imagery. To gain an in-depth understanding of these factors, semistructured interviews were conducted across three phases of injury rehabilitation, and return to competition. The athlete also completed the Athletic Injury Imagery Questionnaire-2 (Sordoni, Hall, & Forwell, 2002), the Vividness of Movement Imagery Questionnaire-2 (Roberts, Callow, Markland, Hardy, & Bringer, 2008), and the Visual Analogue Scale for pain (Huskisson, 1974). Findings highlight the perceived affects of personal and situational variables and imagery ability on the athlete’s responses to injury and function of imagery use. Further, this usage was perceived by the athlete to affect outcome depending on the phase of rehabilitation. Interestingly, perception of pain was not considered by the athlete to influence imagery use, this might have been due to the low pain rating reported.

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E. Dean Ryan and Jeff Simons

To investigate the mental imagery aspect of mental rehearsal, 80 male traffic officers from the California Highway Patrol learned a novel balancing task during a single session. Based on a pretest questionnaire, subjects were categorized as imagers, nonimagers, or occasional imagers and assigned to one of six groups accordingly: imagers asked to use imagery in mental rehearsal, imagers asked to try not to use imagery, nonimagers asked not to use imagery, nonimagers asked to try to use imagery, physical practice, or no practice. It was hypothesized that a person's preferred cognitive style would prove most effective for use in mental rehearsal and that using another style would cause a decrement in learning. Improvement scores indicated no differences between subjects who initially reported typically using imagery and those reported typically not using it, but groups asked to use imagery in mental rehearsal were superior to those asked not to (p<.001). Overall, physical practice was better than the grouped mental rehearsal conditions, and both were better than no practice. Subjects reporting strong visual imagery were superior to those with weak visual images (p<.03), and those reporting strong kinesthetic imagery were superior to those with weak kinesthetic images (p<.03). Regardless of one's typical cognitive style, the use of vivid imagery appears quite important for enhancement of motor performance through mental rehearsal.