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Daniel M. Landers

It is maintained that a balance among theory testing, applied research, and dissemination, though an ideal goal for sport psychology, is not being achieved because theory testing has not kept pace. To explain the rise and decline of theory testing in sport psychology a historical perspective was used. Whereas sport psychology from 1950-1965 was characterized by empiricism, from 1966-1976 it was characterized by a social analysis approach used to test single theories with novel tasks in a laboratory setting. In contrast to the earlier approaches, it is recommended that contemporary sport psychologists (a) use more meta-analyses to recheck the conclusions of past reviews, (b) become less reliant on a single research method or setting, (c) avoid premature commitments to a theory, and (d) become less enamored with statistically based null hypothesis testing. A number of suggestions are offered and examples provided to encourage, where appropriate, the use of “strong inference,” a more eclectic employment of research methods and settings as well as statistical techniques to determine the strength of observed relationships.

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David W. Eccles, Susanne E. Walsh and David K. Ingledew

The objective of this study was to gain an understanding of expert cognition in orienteering. The British orienteering squad was interviewed (N = 17) and grounded theory was used to develop a theory of expert cognition in orienteering. A task constraint identified as central to orienteering is the requirement to manage attention to three sources of information: the map, the environment, and travel. Optimal management is constrained by limited processing resources. However, consistent with the research literature, the results reveal considerable adaptations by experts to task constraints, characterized primarily by various cognitive skills including anticipation and simplification. By anticipating the environment from the map, and by simplifying the information required to navigate, expert orienteers can circumvent processing limitations. Implications of this theory for other domains involving navigation, and for the coaching process within the sport, are discussed.

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Phillip Conatser, Martin Block and Bruce Gansneder

The purpose was to (a) examine aquatic instructors’ beliefs (female, n = 82; male, n = 29) about teaching swimming to individuals with disabilities in inclusive settings and (b) test the theory of planned behavior model (Ajzen, 1985, 1988, 2001). Aquatic instructors from 25 states representing 122 cities across the U.S. participated in this study. The instrument, named Aquatic Instructors’ Beliefs Toward Inclusion (AIBTI), was an extended version of the Physical Educators’ Attitudes Toward Teaching Individuals with Disabilities— Swim (Conatser, Block, & Lepore, 2000). A correlated t test showed aquatic instructors’ beliefs (attitudes toward the behavior, normative beliefs, perceived behavioral control, intention, behavior) were significantly more favorable toward teaching aquatics to individuals with mild disabilities than individuals with severe disabilities. Stepwise multiple regression showed perceived behavioral control and attitude significantly predicted intention, and intention predicted instructors’ inclusive behavior for both disability groups. Further, results indicated the theory of planned behavior predicts aquatic instructors’ behavior better than the theory of reasoned action.

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Donald Chu and David Griffey

The contact theory of racial integration is examined in this survey of the behaviors and attitudes of secondary school students and student-athletes. Self-report questionnaires were completed by 1,082 subjects in the urban upstate New York area. Subjects were evaluated on two behavioral (race of students talked to, race of students phoned) and three attitudinal (like more friends of other races, choose interracial school, or races smarter than others) dependent variables. Dependent measures were evaluated relative to their correlations with a number of independent variables (athlete/nonathlete, individual or cooperative sport played, sport experience, won-lost record, exposure to minorities, sex, social status). Results of the study argue for consideration of the contact theory’s applicability to the sport situation.

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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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Claudine Sherrill

The underrepresentation of women in the Paralympics movement warrants attention as the world prepares for Atlanta 1996, when Paralympics (conducted after the Summer Olympics) will attract approximately 3,500 athletes with physical disability or visual impairment from 102 countries. Barriers that confront women with disability, the Paralympic movement, and adapted physical activity as a profession and scholarly discipline that stresses advocacy and attitude theories are presented. Two theories (reasoned action and contact) that have been tested in various contexts are woven together as an approach particularly applicable to women in sport and feminists who care about equal access to opportunity for all women. Women with disability are a social minority that is both ignored and oppressed. Sport and feminist theory and action should include disability along with gender, race/ethnicity, class, and age as concerns and issues.

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Janet S. Fink, Heidi M. Parker, Martin Brett and Julie Higgins

In the current article, we extend the literature on fan identification and social identity theory by examining the effects of unscrupulous off-field behaviors of athletes. In doing so, we drew from both social identity theory and Heider’s balance theory to hypothesize a significant interaction between fan identification level and leadership response on fans’ subsequent levels of identification. An experimental study was performed and a 2 (high, low identification) × 2 (weak, strong leadership response) ANOVA was conducted with the pre to post difference score in team identification as the dependent variable. There was a significant interaction effect (F (2, 80) = 23.71, p < .001) which explained 23% of the variance in the difference between prepost test scores. The results provide evidence that unscrupulous acts by athletes off the field of play can impact levels of team identification, particularly for highly identified fans exposed to a weak leadership response. The results are discussed relative to appropriate theory. Practical implications and suggestions for future research are also forwarded.

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John H. Hoover and Michael G. Wade

This paper traces the rare intertwining of motor learning theory and research undertaken with mentally retarded (MR) individuals. Some of the broad themes in the research are outlined from a historical context, and their impact on motor learning in MR persons is examined. If for no other reason than the sheer volume of the work, traditional information processing theory is emphasized within its historical context. The review treats as subject matter the main theoretical developments leading to the adoption of the information processing model. Rationale for the widespread use of the model to account for rather than describe the performance of MR persons is outlined, particularly as it relates to theoretical development. Further, some comment on the state of knowledge is added along with conjecture about the future of motor control research with MR individuals.

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Marci D. Cottingham

The study of sport spectatorship has an increasing focus on the importance of fandom beyond fan violence. Fundamental to understanding fan behavior are the meaningful rituals and emotions experienced by fans. In this paper, I use the theoretical work of Randall Collins to examine the ritualistic outcomes of collective effervescence, emotional energy, and group symbols and solidarity among sport fans. I illustrate these concepts using case study data from participant observation of fans of a U.S. football team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and content analysis of news articles. I extend Collins’ interaction ritual (IR) theory by taking the group as the unit of analysis and analyzing group solidarity beyond situational interactions and typical sport settings, including the significant life events of weddings and funerals. While critiquing Collins’ (2004) a priori portrayal of sports fans, the analysis advances IR theory, improving its utility for understanding sports fan behavior.

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Gordon A. Bloom and Michael D. Smith

Cultural spillover theory holds that the more a society tends to legitimate the use of violence to attain ends for which there is widespread social approval, the greater the likelihood of illegitimate violence. This study was a test of cultural spillover theory as it applies to hockey violence. Based on data from a representative sample survey of Toronto hockey players and a comparison group of nonplayers, we tested the proposition that violence in hockey “spills over” into violence in other social settings. The results offer support for a cultural spillover explanation of hockey violence. Older players in highly competitive select-leagues were more likely to approve of violence and to act violently in other social settings than were younger select-league players, house-league players, and nonplayers of all ages.