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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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Stacy Winter and Dave Collins

Priming has recently emerged in the literature as offering advantages in the preparation for skilled performance. Accordingly, the current study tested the efficacy of imagery against a priming paradigm as a means of enhancing motor performance: in essence, contrasting a preparation technique primarily under the conscious control of the performer to an unconscious technique promoting automaticity. The imagery intervention was guided by the PETTLEP model, while the priming intervention took the form of a scrambled sentence task. Eighteen skilled field-hockey players performed a dribbling task under imagery, priming, skill-focus, and control conditions. Results revealed a significant improvement in speed and technical accuracy for the imagery condition as opposed to the skill-focus, control, and priming conditions. In addition, there were no significant differences in performance times or technical accuracy between the priming and control conditions. The study provides further support for the efficacy of imagery to elicit enhanced motor skill performance but questions the emerging emphasis on priming as an effective tool in preparation for physical tasks.

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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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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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Kelly J. Ashford and Robin C. Jackson

The present study examined the effectiveness of a priming paradigm in alleviating skill failure under stress. The priming intervention took the form of a scrambled sentence task. Experiment 1: Thirty-four skilled field-hockey players performed a dribbling task in low- and high-pressure situations under single task, skill-focused, and priming conditions. Results revealed a significant increase in performance time from low to high pressure. In addition, performance in the priming condition was significantly better than in the control and skill-focused conditions. Experiment 2: Thirty skilled field-hockey players completed the same dribbling task as in Experiment 1; however, in addition to the control and skill-focused conditions, participants were allocated to either a positive, neutral, or negative priming condition. Results revealed significant improvements in performance time from the skill focus to the control to the priming condition for the positive and neutral groups. For the negative group, times were significantly slower in the priming condition. Results are discussed in terms of utilizing priming in a sporting context.

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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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Yorghos Apostolopoulos, Mona M. Shattell, Sevil Sönmez, Robert Strack, Lauren Haldeman and Victoria Jones

Background:

As one of the most underserved segments of the U.S. labor force, truck drivers have been associated with a series of morbid conditions intimately linked to their occupational milieux, their mostly unhealthful nutritional intake and sedentary lifestyles, and their resulting excess weight-gain.

Methods:

This paper reports data from a baseline assessment of 25 trucking work settings located around interstate highways I-40 and I-85 in North Carolina. It examines how the environmental attributes of these work settings influence the physical and recreational activity behaviors of truckers, compares findings with those from other occupational environments, and brings to the fore a new health promotion paradigm for trucking worksites.

Results:

Findings support growing empirical and anecdotal evidence that trucking work settings remain not only active-living deserts, but overall unhealthful places. A scan of physical, social, and information environments within trucking worksites as well as physical environments of surrounding communities reveal only meager opportunities for physical and recreational activity for truckers.

Conclusion:

This paper places the highly underserved population of truckers firmly within the discourse of worksite health promotion, and calls for comprehensive multistakeholder wellness strategies that address a multitude of risk factors linked to the occupational context.

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Keith Lohse, Taylor Buchanan and Matthew Miller

Appropriate statistical analysis is essential for accurate and reliable research. Statistical practices have an immediate impact on the perceived results of a single study but also remote effects on the dissemination of information among scientists and the cumulative nature of research. To accurately quantify potential problems facing the field of motor learning, we systematically reviewed publications from seven journals over the past 2 years to find experiments that tested the effects of different training conditions on delayed retention and transfer tests (i.e., classic motor learning paradigms). Eighteen studies were included. These studies had small sample sizes (Mdn n/group = 11.00, interquartile range [IQR]= 9.6–15.5), multiple dependent variables (Mdn = 2, IQR = 2–4), and many statistical tests per article (Mdn = 83.5, IQR = 55.8–112.5). The observed effect sizes were large (d = 0.71, IQR = 0.49, 1.11). However, the distribution of effect sizes was biased, t(16) = 3.48, p < .01. These metadata indicate problems with the way motor learning research is conducted (or at least published). We recommend several potential solutions to address these issues: a priori power calculations, prespecified analyses, data sharing, and dissemination of null results. Furthermore, we hope these data will spark serious action from all stakeholders (researchers, editorial boards, and publishers) in the field.

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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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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