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Deborah Dewey and Lawrence R. Brawley

A major research limitation in investigating the validity of the TAIS has been the failure to distinguish when attentional style has an effect on the information processing system, early as in encoding or late after processing. Few investigations have examined the TAIS predictive validity in a controlled setting wherein task attention demands can be systematically and accurately varied. Does the general trait of attentional style really have anything to do with how attention related information is processed? The present study examined this question using a valid attention theory (Treisman's feature integration theory) and a visual search paradigm. When the TAIS attentional-style scales were correlated with visual search rate for attention demanding targets, no significant relationships were observed. Specifically, TAIS scales did not relate to visual search rate for an attention demanding target, the performance of subjects extreme in search rate, or the central to peripheral slowing of search time in target detection. The factorial validity of the TAIS was also questioned. It was concluded that the attentional-style scales were not valid in predicting how attention related visual information is processed. The importance of distinguishing when attentional style might be operating in the information processing system was emphasized for future research.

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Daniel S. Kirschenbaum, David A. Wittrock, Robert J. Smith and William Monson

We propose that training athletes to use certain cognitive-behavioral procedures, “criticism inoculation training” (CIT), could enable them to circumvent the adverse effects of excessively negativistic coaching. This experiment evaluated the efficacy of one potential CIT strategy, positive self-monitoring (systematically observing and recording instances of success). A laboratory paradigm was used in which 60 male college students attempted to learn the underhand free throw basketball technique from one of four undergraduate pseudocoaches. Subjects were randomly assigned to four groups determined by a 2 (negative vs. no feedback) × 2 (positive vs. no self-monitoring) factorial design. Negative feedback was expected to debilitate, while positive self-monitoring was expected to facilitate performance, sustained self-observation of videotapes of performance, and subjective evaluations of the “coach” and the technique. Negative feedback clearly produced extensive adverse effects, but surprisingly, positive self-monitoring also decreased performance. Theories of skilled motor behavior (MacKay, 1982) and self-regulation (Carver, 1979) helped explain why positive self-monitoring failed as a CIT procedure. This interpretation which focuses on the novelty of the task and the development of negative expectancies also led to suggestions of strategies that could more effectively fulfill the promise of the CIT concept.

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Franziska Antoniewicz and Ralf Brand

The goals of this study were to test whether exercise-related stimuli can elicit automatic evaluative responses and whether automatic evaluations reflect exercise setting preference in highly active exercisers. An adapted version of the Affect Misattribution Procedure was employed. Seventy-two highly active exercisers (26 years ± 9.03; 43% female) were subliminally primed (7 ms) with pictures depicting typical fitness center scenarios or gray rectangles (control primes). After each prime, participants consciously evaluated the “pleasantness” of a Chinese symbol. Controlled evaluations were measured with a questionnaire and were more positive in participants who regularly visited fitness centers than in those who reported avoiding this exercise setting. Only center exercisers gave automatic positive evaluations of the fitness center setting (partial eta squared = .08). It is proposed that a subliminal Affect Misattribution Procedure paradigm can detect automatic evaluations to exercising and that, in highly active exercisers, these evaluations play a role in decisions about the exercise setting rather than the amounts of physical exercise. Findings are interpreted in terms of a dual systems theory of social information processing and behavior.

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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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Yi-An Chen, Yu-Chen Chung, Rachel Proffitt, Eric Wade and Carolee Winstein

Attention during exercise is known to affect performance; however, the attentional demand inherent to virtual reality (VR)-based exercise is not well understood. We used a dual-task paradigm to compare the attentional demands of VR-based and non-VR-based (conventional, real-world) exercise: 22 older adults (with no diagnosed disabilities) performed a primary reaching task to virtual and real targets in a counterbalanced block order while verbally responding to an unanticipated auditory tone in one third of the trials. The attentional demand of the primary reaching task was inferred from the voice response time (VRT) to the auditory tone. Participants’ engagement level and task experience were also obtained using questionnaires. The virtual target condition was more attention demanding (significantly longer VRT) than the real target condition. Secondary analyses revealed a significant interaction between engagement level and target condition on attentional demand. For participants who were highly engaged, attentional demand was high and independent of target condition. However, for those who were less engaged, attentional demand was low and depended on target condition (i.e., virtual > real). These findings add important knowledge to the growing body of research pertaining to the development and application of technology-enhanced exercise for older adults and for rehabilitation purposes.

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Fabien Cignetti, Sébastien Caudron, Marianne Vaugoyeau and Christine Assaiante

There is evidence that adolescence is a critical period in development, most likely involving important modifications of the body schema and of the sensorimotor representations. The present study addressed this issue, by investigating the differences between adolescents and adults regarding the integration of proprioceptive information at both perceptual and postural levels and the visual recognition of human movement. Proprioceptive integration was examined using muscle-tendon vibration that evoked either a postural response or an illusory sensation of movement. The ability to recognize human movement was investigated from a paradigm where the participants had to discern between human movements performed with and without gravity. The study produced three main findings. First, the adolescents had larger postural responses to tendon vibrations than the adults, with visual information enabling them to reduce this exaggerated postural reaction. Second, the adolescents had a greater illusory perception of movement compared with the adults. Third, the adolescents had the same perceptual ability as adults in the human movement perception task. In conclusion, we were able to highlight notable differences between adolescents and young adults, which confirms the late maturation of multisensory integration for postural control and the privileged visual contribution to postural control.

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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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Shannon D.R. Ringenbach, Kristina Zimmerman, Chih Chia Chen, Genna M. Mulvey, Simon D. Holzapfel, Daniel J. Weeks and Michael H. Thaut

The present study used a synchronization-continuation paradigm during continuous bimanual drumming with different cues in 17 persons with Down syndrome, eight typical persons with similar mental age and eight typical persons with similar chronological age. The task required participants to hit two drums with their hands at the same time following music (e.g., a tune with various decibel drum beats), auditory (e.g., sound of drumbeat), verbal (e.g., voice saying “drum”), and visual (e.g., video of both hands moving up and down and hitting the drums together) cues for 10 seconds, then continue drumming in the absence of cues for another 10 seconds. In general, when all groups were following the music cues their movements were faster as compared with their movements in the auditory, verbal, and visual conditions. In addition, when following visual cues all groups produced more accurate and consistently coordinated movements than with the other cue types. Further, participants with Down syndrome often stopped moving when the pacing cues were eliminated indicating a need for continuous cues for continuous movements.

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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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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.