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Michaela B. Upshaw and Jessica Sommerville

Previous research demonstrates that infants adapt and plan their actions based on object weight, but fewer studies have investigated how infants’ understanding of object weight shapes their understanding of physical events. The present study investigates 10-month-old infants’ understanding of the effect of object weight in support events—specifically, that object weight impacts whether a supporting surface will become compressed or not—and its relation to motor development. In Experiment 1, using an action task, we found that infants infer an object’s weight based on whether it compresses a supporting surface, as demonstrated by reaches to the light object following the support event. In Experiment 2, using a violation-of-expectation paradigm, we found that infants generate predictions for the outcome of support events involving heavy and light objects (i.e., they expect heavy, but not light, objects to compress a supporting surface), as demonstrated by longer looking to inconsistent events relative to consistent. Neither experiment found relations with infants’ motor development. These findings demonstrate that infants invoke a concept of object weight when interpreting and predicting the outcomes of physical events and that the ability to reason about object weight as a causal factor in physical events is relatively sophisticated in infancy.

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Daniel S. Kirschenbaum and Robert J. Smith

In this study, experimenters (pseudo-coaches) provided feedback that varied in valence, sequence, and amount to 50 male college students. A laboratory analogue paradigm was used that included a basketball-like underhand free throw task in which subjects first were instructed on proper technique and then took 10 baseline shots (trials) followed by 2 blocks of 20 trials each. Subjects were randomly assigned. Some interacted with a pseudo-coach who made no comments during the two experimental trial blocks (control), while others received feedback (6-8 comments per trial block) that was response-specific, emotionally oriented, and provided in one of four sequences: positive-positive, negative-negative, positive-negative, or negative-positive. Based on prior research on coach behavior and social psychological studies of interpersonal behavior, we hypothesized that both of the continuous feedback groups would show performance decrements and associated reactions to the coach and the task. These predictions were supported regarding performance and, to some extent, regarding a measure of sustained self-observation. Discussion includes interpretation of the nominally superior performance of the control group, the nonsignificant results on the subjective evaluation measures, and implications of these findings in view of external validity criteria and prior analyses in the emerging behavioral technology of coaching.

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Jamie E. L. Spinney, Hugh Millward and Darren Scott

Background:

Walking is the most common physical activity for adults with important implications for urban planning and public health. Recreational walking has received considerably more attention than walking for transport, and differences between them remain poorly understood.

Methods:

Using time-use data collected from 1971 randomly-chosen adults in Halifax, Canada, we identified walking for transport and walking for recreation events, and then computed participation rates, occurrences, mean event durations, and total daily durations in order to examine the participants and timing, while the locations were examined using origin-destination matrices. We compared differences using McNemar’s test for participation rates, Wilcoxon test for occurrences and durations, and Chi-Square test for locations.

Results:

Results illustrate many significant differences between the 2 types of walking, related to participants, timing, and locations. For example, results indicate a daily average of 3.1 walking for transport events, each lasting 8 minutes on average, compared with 1.4 recreational walking events lasting 39 minutes on average. Results also indicate more than two-thirds of recreational walks are home-based, compared with less than one-fifth of transport walks.

Conclusions:

This research highlights the importance of both types of walking, while also casting suspicion on the traditional home-based paradigm used to measure “walkability.”

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Derek T.Y. Mann, A. Mark Williams, Paul Ward and Christopher M. Janelle

Research focusing on perceptual-cognitive skill in sport is abundant. However, the existing qualitative syntheses of this research lack the quantitative detail necessary to determine the magnitude of differences between groups of varying levels of skills, thereby limiting the theoretical and practical contribution of this body of literature. We present a meta-analytic review focusing on perceptual-cognitive skill in sport (N = 42 studies, 388 effect sizes) with the primary aim of quantifying expertise differences. Effects were calculated for a variety of dependent measures (i.e., response accuracy, response time, number of visual fixations, visual fixation duration, and quiet eye period) using point-biserial correlation. Results indicated that experts are better than nonexperts in picking up perceptual cues, as revealed by measures of response accuracy and response time. Systematic differences in visual search behaviors were also observed, with experts using fewer fixations of longer duration, including prolonged quiet eye periods, compared with nonexperts. Several factors (e.g., sport type, research paradigm employed, and stimulus presentation modality) significantly moderated the relationship between level of expertise and perceptual-cognitive skill. Practical and theoretical implications are presented and suggestions for empirical work are provided.

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Chu-Min Liao and Richard S.W. Masters

Although it has often been implied that self-focused attention plays a mediating role in performance degradation under stress, the assumption that stress will evoke self-focus has received limited empirical support. Two studies were carried out to explore this relationship. The first study, using a time-to-event paradigm, showed that a higher level of self-focused attention accompanied increased anxiety levels in the buildup to competition. In the second study, basketball novices who were instructed to focus on the mechanics of the ball-shooting process during practice suffered a significant performance decrement in a subsequent stressful test phase, whereas those who were required only to do their best during practice showed no degradation in performance. It was concluded that self-focused attention may increase in response to psychological stress, and that the negative effect of self-focused attention on performance under stress is likely to be magnified by learning the skill under a high degree of self-focused attention, which can result in an overawareness of the performance process.

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Norbert Hagemann, Bernd Strauss and Rouwen Cañal-Bruland

A major element in expert sports performance, particularly racket-and-ball games, is excellent anticipatory skill. A prestudy combined the temporal and spatial occlusion paradigms to ascertain which key stimuli badminton players use for anticipating the direction of overhead shots. The main study then evaluated a program for training anticipatory skills; 200 video clips were employed to orient attention toward these key stimuli. Participants were 63 badminton novices, 20 national league players, and 21 local league players. A transparent red patch (exogenous orienting) was used to orient attention toward the trunk up to 160 ms before racket-shuttle contact; the arm, from 160 ms to 80 ms before contact; and the racket, from 80 ms before to actual contact. Results showed that badminton novices who trained with this program significantly improved their anticipatory skill between post- and retention test compared with controls. Whereas local league players improved from pre- to posttest, training had no effect on expert national league players. It is concluded that using red transparent patches to highlight the most informative cues in perceptual training programs is a promising way to improve anticipatory skill.

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Daniel Gould, Linda Petlichkoff, Jeff Simons and Mel Vevera

This study examined whether linear or curvilinear (inverted-U) relationships exist between Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 subscale scores and pistol shooting performance in a paradigm that addressed previous design, methodological, and data analysis problems. Officers (N = 39) from the University of Illinois Police Training Institute served as subjects and participated in a pistol shooting competition. Each subject shot on five separate occasions, immediately after completing the CSAI-2 (Martens, Burton, Vealey, Bump, & Smith, 1983), a multidimensional measure of state anxiety. It was predicted that cognitive state anxiety would be more related to performance than would somatic state anxiety. However, relationships between both types of anxiety and performance were predicted to support inverted-U as opposed to linear relationships. Self-confidence was predicted to be positively related to performance. Results were analyzed using the intraindividual analysis procedures recommended by Sonstroem and Bernardo (1982) and showed that cognitive anxiety was not related to performance, somatic anxiety was related to performance in a curvilinear (inverted-U) fashion, and confidence was negatively related to performance.

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K. John Fisher, Fuzhong Li, Yvonne Michael and Minot Cleveland

There is a need for greater understanding of setting-specific influences on physical activity to complement the predominant research paradigm of individual-centered influences on physical activity. In this study, the authors used a cross-sectional multilevel analysis to examine a range of neighborhood-level characteristics and the extent to which they were associated with variation in self-reported physical activity among older adults. The sample consisted of 582 community-dwelling residents age 65 years and older (M = 73.99 years, SD = 6.25) recruited from 56 neighborhoods in Portland, OR. Information collected from participants and neighborhood data from objective sources formed a two-level data structure. These hierarchical data (i.e., individuals nested within neighborhoods) were subjected to multilevel structural-equation-modeling analyses. Results showed that neighborhood social cohesion, in conjunction with other neighborhood-level factors, was significantly associated with increased levels of neighborhood physical activity. Overall, neighborhood-level variables jointly accounted for a substantial variation in neighborhood physical activity when controlling for individual-level variables.

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Moeko Ueno, Ichiro Uchiyama, Joseph J. Campos, David I. Anderson, Minxuan He and Audun Dahl

Infants show a dramatic shift in postural and emotional responsiveness to peripheral lamellar optic flow (PLOF) following crawling onset. The present study used a novel virtual moving room to assess postural compensation of the shoulders backward and upward and heart rate acceleration to PLOF specifying a sudden horizontal forward translation and a sudden descent down a steep slope in an infinitely long virtual tunnel. No motion control conditions were also included. Participants were 53 8.5-month-old infants: 25 prelocomotors and 28 hands-and-knees crawlers. The primary findings were that crawling infants showed directionally appropriate postural compensation in the two tunnel motion conditions, whereas prelocomotor infants were minimally responsive in both conditions. Similarly, prelocomotor infants showed nonsignificant changes in heart rate acceleration in the tunnel motion conditions, whereas crawling infants showed significantly higher heart rate acceleration in the descent condition than in the descent control condition, and in the descent condition than in the horizontal translation condition. These findings highlight the important role played by locomotor experience in the development of the visual control of posture and in emotional reactions to a sudden optically specified drop. The virtual moving room is a promising paradigm for exploring the development of perception–action coupling.

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Community-Dwelling Older Adults P. Margaret Grant * Philippa M. Dall * Sarah L. Mitchell * Malcolm H. Granat * 4 2008 16 2 201 214 10.1123/japa.16.2.201 A Proposal for a New Screening Paradigm and Tool Called Exercise Assessment and Screening for You (EASY) Barbara Resnick * Marcia G. Ory