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Robert J. Sonstroem and Pasquale Bernardo

An extension of the inverted-U curve hypothesis was tested by defining low, moderate, and high arousal levels as an athlete's lowest, median, and highest pregame state anxiety values across three games of a basketball tournament. Basketball performance was measured by a game statistics composite (PERF) and by total points (TP) in each game. Subjects were 30 female university varsity basketball starters from six teams. They were trichotomized on competitive trait anxiety (A-trait), and a 3 × 3 ANOVA with repeated measures on A-state categories was employed. Significant A-state effects (p < .01) were found for both dependent variables: composite game performance (PERF) and total points (TP). Although A-trait predicted absolute A-state levels extremely well (p < .001), it failed to achieve a significant relationship with performance. When intrasubject T-scores for PERF and TP were regressed separately on intrasubject A-state T-scores, the relationship of variables was seen to consist essentially of a quadratic function which explained 18.4% and 16.9% of within-subject variance for PERF and TP, respectively. High A-state scores were associated with poorest performances in all three trait groups, but plotting performance T-scores across A-state categories indicated this effect to be particularly pronounced in high competitive trait-anxiety subjects.

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Andreas Schwerdtfeger, Ragna Eberhardt, Andrea Chmitorz and Eva Schaller

There is converging evidence that physical activity influences affective states. It has been found that aerobic exercise programs can significantly diminish negative affect. Moreover, among healthy individuals, moderate levels of physical activity seem to increase energetic arousal and positive affect. However, the predictive utility of affective states for bodily movement has rarely been investigated. In this study, we examined whether momentarily assessed affect is associated with bodily movement in everyday life. Using a previously published data set (Schwerdtfeger, Eberhardt, & Chmitorz, 2008), we reanalyzed 12-hr ecological momentary assessment (EMA) data from 124 healthy volunteers. Electronic momentary positive-activated affect (EMA-PAA) and negative affect (EMA-NA) were assessed via handheld computers, and bodily movement was recorded via accelerosensors. Generalized linear mixed models were calculated. Results indicated that EMA-PAA increases were accompanied by bodily movement increases of varying intensity. EMA-NA was also positively associated with increases in certain kinds of bodily movement. In light of previous research, this finding suggests that affect and bodily movement may have circular effects on each other.

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Maria Kavussanu, Adrian Willoughby and Christopher Ring

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of moral identity on physiological responses to affective pictures, namely, the startle blink reflex and pain-related evoked potential. Male (n = 48) and female (n = 46) athletes participating in contact team sports were randomly assigned to either a moral identity group or a non-moral identity group and viewed a series of unpleasant, neutral, and pleasant sport-specific pictures. During picture viewing, a noxious electrocutaneous stimulus was delivered as the startle probe and the startle blink and pain-related evoked potential were measured. Upon completion of physiological measures, participants reviewed the pictures and rated them for valence and arousal. ANOVAs revealed that participants in the moral identity group displayed larger startle blinks and smaller pain-related potentials than did those in the non-moral identity group across all picture valence categories. However, the difference in the magnitude of startle blinks between the moral and non-moral identity groups was larger in response to unpleasant than pleasant and neutral pictures. Our findings suggest that moral identity affects physiological responses to sport-specific affective pictures, thereby providing objective evidence for the link between moral identity and emotion in athletes.

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Christine M. Brooks

Recently the International Beach Volleyball Federation (FIVB) implemented a uniform rule that many protesters felt was designed to use the female players as sex objects to attract an audience. In marketing terms, the FIVB implemented a sexual appeal strategy to market their sport. This is only one example of the use of sex and eroticism to promote a sport. There are many others including cheerleaders, fitness programming, bodybuilding, men’s professional soccer and Australian Rules football. Sex in advertising has been a long-debated subject and very little is known about its lasting effects. Sexual appeals play to the sexual survival motive that consists of three elements: sexual gender, sexual impulse and sexual inhibition. Whenever any of these elements appear in advertising, the general goal is to arouse desire for a product. In this paper I examine the strategic purpose for using sexual appeals, the manner in which they impact target audiences, and the potential consequences of this marketing approach. It is clear from the literature that sexual appeals draw attention to the sport using it. However, this attention occurs at the risk of target audiences perceiving the athlete as poor quality, as a negative symbol, or as something less that a true athlete. Sponsors must also worry about being associated with sports that use sex appeals because if the spectator is irritated then this irritation could transfer to the sponsor’s products.

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Daniel Gould, Robert C. Eklund and Susan A. Jackson

This study involved extensive interviews with all 20 members of the 1988 U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team about their performances in the Seoul Olympics. Qualitative research methodology and analyses were employed to acquire and preserve rich representations of these experiences. Mental preparation strategies, precompetitive cognition, and affect were examined by having the wrestlers respond to a series of questions about their all-time best match, worst Olympic match, and most crucial Olympic match. Considerable consistency was found across wrestlers’ responses regarding all-time best and worst Olympic matches whereas striking differences were found between the best and worst matches. For example, before best matches, wrestlers followed mental preparation plans and routines and were extremely confident, totally focused, and optimally aroused. They also focused on clear tactical strategies. Before worst matches, wrestlers were not confident, had inappropriate feeling states and experienced many task-irrelevant and negative thoughts, and deviated from preparation plans. These results are consistent with other research with Olympic athletes and suggest that precompetitive states play a critical role in competitive performance.

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Daniel Gould, Robert C. Eklund and Susan A. Jackson

This is second in a series of articles reporting on a study involving interviews with all 20 members of the 1988 U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team regarding their performances in the Seoul Olympics. Qualitative research methodology and analyses were employed and the results of the analyses of thoughts and affect occurring during competition were examined. The wrestlers responded to a series of questions about their all-time best match, worst Olympic match, and most crucial Olympic match. Considerable consistency was found across wrestler responses regarding best and worst matches whereas striking differences were found between best and worst matches. During best matches, wrestlers were extremely confident, totally focused, and optimally aroused. They also focused on clear tactical strategies. During worst matches, the wrestlers were not confident, had inappropriate feeling states, experienced many task-irrelevant and negative thoughts, and either deviated from strategic plans or made poor strategy choices. These results are consistent with other research on Olympic athletes and with peak performance, peak experience, and flow research.

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Deborah L. Feltz

This investigation contrasted path analysis models for 40 males and 40 females based on the predictions of Feltz's (1982) respecification model of Ban-dura' s (1977) self-efficacy theory in the approach/avoidance of two trials of a modified back dive. The hypothesized (respecified) model proposed that previous related experiences, self-efficacy, and heart rate predicted initial back-diving performance and that previous performance and self-efficacy predicted subsequent performance. The hypothesized model also proposed that self-efficacy mediates the influence of autonomic perception of arousal on performance. Results indicated that males had lower state anxiety and autonomic perception scores than females on the first trial. No differences occurred for back-diving performance, self-efficacy, or heart rate. Path analysis results indicated that the hypothesized model fit the data better for females than for males, though it left much unexplained variance for both males and females. Females showed a reciprocal relationship between self-efficacy and performance, whereas males showed a reciprocal relationship between autonomic perception and heart rate. Previous performance and self-efficacy were strong predictors of subsequent performance for both males and females.

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Janice M. Deakin, Janet L. Starkes and Digby Elliott

The influence of exercise-induced arousal on the processing of visual information by three age groups was tested. Subjects were required to perform the Treisman visual detection task both at rest and during a steady-state walk at 75% of their maximum heart rate. The expected age differences in perceptual performance were apparent. The detection performance of 8-year-olds was poorer than that of 11-year-olds and adults. Detection of conjoined feature targets, with increases in the array size, showed a decrement in comparison to single feature targets. Subjects responded more quickly at all levels of distraction when a target was present while they were exercising. The results supported certain elements of Treisman's feature integration theory. This study has provided evidence that an exercise stress equivalent to 75 % of maximum heart rate had a positive effect on the visual perceptual performance of all groups tested. Both array size and feature conditions interacted with age. This suggests that children are not able to avoid irrelevant information as effectively as adults. In addition, children are differentially affected by different target characteristics in the detection task.

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W. Jack Rejeski, Charles J. Hardy and Janet Shaw

This investigation examined the possible psychometric confounds of interpreting exercise-induced symptom reporting as changes in stete anxiety. Thirty male subjects exercised on a motor-driven treadmill for 15 min at 75% of maximum heart rate reserve. Prior to» during, and following the exercise, subjects responded to short forms of Spielberger's State Anxiety Inventory (SAI), Thayer's Aetivation-Deactivation Adjective Check List (AD-ACL), Borg's Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale» and a measure of affect. Preliminary results indicated that following 10 min of recovery from exercise» SAI scores were lower than baseline responses. Upon former analysis of individual SAI items, however, it was evident mat changes occurring in total SAI scores as a result of exercise were strongly influenced by changes in energetic arousal and general deactivation. This conclusion was supported by data from the AD-ACL as well as responses to postexperimental interviews. These findings cal into question the construct validity of the SAI and related state measures (e.g., the Profile of Mood States» or POMS) when used in conjunction with acute bouts of vigorous physical activity.

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Roy J. Shephard

Advocates of quality daily physical education for prepubescent children frequently encounter the argument that such initiatives will harm academic progress. The impact of daily physical education upon the academic performance of primary school students is thus reviewed with particular reference to studies conducted in Vanves (France), Australia, and Trois Rivières (Québec). When a substantial proportion of curricular time (14–26%) is allocated to physical activity, learning seems to proceed more rapidly per unit of classroom time, so that academic performance matches, and may even exceed, that of control students. Children receiving additional physical education show an acceleration of their psychomotor development, and this could provide a mechanism for accelerated learning of academic skills. Other potential mechanisms include increased cerebral blood flow, greater arousal, changes in hormone levels, enhanced nutrient intake, changes in body build, and increased self esteem. Academic teachers may also favor the enhanced physical education program, creating “halo” effects, and the resulting release time may enhance their academic teaching. Irrespective of mechanisms, the implication for public policy is that daily required physical education can be introduced when a child enters primary school without compromising academic development. Given the importance of establishing positive health habits from an early age, school boards should be encouraged to follow a policy of required daily physical activity in primary schools. Evidence of specific benefit in students with learning disabilities remains less convincing.