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Special Issue on Psychophysiology and Neuroscience in Sport: Final Thoughts

Frank L. Gardner

Consistent with the Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology’s mission, the current special issue on psychophysiology and neuroscience in sport has brought together a variety of timely papers exploring the relationship between physiological processes and both sport performance and personal well-being. These final thoughts observe patterns noted among the papers in this issue, highlight future research directions, and most importantly, clarify where this emerging technology and its associated procedures currently stand in the evidence-based practice of clinical sport psychology.

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Psychophysiology and Neuroscience in Sport: Introduction to the Special Issue

Leonard Zaichkowsky

While clinical psychology has embraced the importance of psychophysiology and neuroscience when considering the client condition, the field of sport psychology has been slower to consider the potential importance of this area for athletic clientele. Therefore, this special issue of the Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology was conceptualized and constructed to describe the current state of psychophysiological and neuroscience research and illustrate how clinical sport psychologists may, in the future, use technologies such as biofeedback/neurofeedback and physiological measurement (EMG, EEG, skin temperature, EDR, HR, HRV, respiration, and hormonal responses) with high-level athletes from a variety of sports for both performance enhancement and diagnosis and management of head injury. As Guest Editor of this unique special issue, I have written the present introduction to highlight the issue’s important mission. This introductory paper sets the stage for five informative and cutting-edge articles by leading professionals. In all, the articles cover an array of topics on psychophysiology and neuroscience in sport, such as (a) the theoretical underpinnings of biofeedback/neurofeedback, (b) the empirical application of such approaches, (c) the current state of efficacy with regard to this newer line of research and practice, and (d) the use of fMRI in understanding psychological processes in sport. I hope that this timely special issue provokes many additional questions and advanced research in our collective pursuit to assist athletes.

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A Narrative Review of Heart Rate Variability as a Good Index of Psychophysical Health in Athletes and in Biofeedback Training

Carlo Pruneti, Simone Ferrari, and Sara Guidotti

hormone and low responses from adrenocorticotropic hormone. The lack of SANS activity causes an abnormal decrease in heart rate at rest and worsening of the athlete’s performance. Stress Measures Heart Rate A recent trend in clinical psychophysiology, and especially in clinical sport psychophysiology, is

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Psychophysiology – A New Direction for Sport Psychology

Brad D. Hatfield and Daniel M. Landers

An area of inquiry that has largely been ignored in scientific studies in the field of sport psychology/motor performance is the subdiscipline of psychology called psychophysiology. This subdiscipline, which is concerned with inferences of psychological processes and emotional states from an examination of physiological measures, is rich in methodological and theoretical insights that could improve research and practice within sport psychology/motor performance. The current methodological and theoretical issues in psychophysiology are first reviewed and then specifically related to recent sport studies that demonstrate their applicability to the enhancement of both theoretical and applied aspects of sport.

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Give Those Men a Cigar (But No Light): A Reply to Slade, Landers, and Martin

Bruce Hale, Paul Holmes, Dave Smith, Neil Fowler, and Dave Collins

Several years ago Collins and Hale (1997) commented on nonrigorous experimental designs and procedures which typified published research examining the psychophysiology of the imagery process. Conceptual, methodological, and analytical guidelines were offered to improve the quality of future research undertakings. While Slade, Landers, and Martin (2002) have followed some of these suggestions, their recent imagery study examining the “mirror hypothesis” and a theory-expectancy hypothesis with EMG recordings still appears to have some conceptual inconsistencies, methodological flaws, and analytical weaknesses that make their conclusions ambiguous. These concerns are identified, and more suggestions for improved designs are given, in another attempt to improve the quality of the scientific research undertaken in sport psychophysiology.

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Competition Between Desired Competitive Result, Tolerable Homeostatic Disturbance, and Psychophysiological Interpretation Determines Pacing Strategy

Carl Foster, Jos J. de Koning, Florentina J. Hettinga, Renato Barroso, Daniel Boullosa, Arturo Casado, Cristina Cortis, Andrea Fusco, Halle Gregorich, Salvador Jaime, Andrew M. Jones, Katherine R. Malterer, Robert Pettitt, John P. Porcari, Cassie Pratt, Patrick Reinschmidt, Phillip Skiba, Annabel Splinter, Alan St Clair Gibson, Jacob St Mary, Christian Thiel, Kate Uithoven, and Joyce van Tunen

Scientific interest in pacing goes back >100 years. Contemporary interest, both as a feature of athletic competition and as a window into understanding fatigue, goes back >30 years. Pacing represents the pattern of energy use designed to produce a competitive result while managing fatigue of different origins. Pacing has been studied both against the clock and during head-to-head competition. Several models have been used to explain pacing, including the teleoanticipation model, the central governor model, the anticipatory-feedback-rating of perceived exertion model, the concept of a learned template, the affordance concept, the integrative governor theory, and as an explanation for “falling behind.” Early studies, mostly using time-trial exercise, focused on the need to manage homeostatic disturbance. More recent studies, based on head-to-head competition, have focused on an improved understanding of how psychophysiology, beyond the gestalt concept of rating of perceived exertion, can be understood as a mediator of pacing and as an explanation for falling behind. More recent approaches to pacing have focused on the elements of decision making during sport and have expanded the role of psychophysiological responses including sensory-discriminatory, affective-motivational, and cognitive-evaluative dimensions. These approaches have expanded the understanding of variations in pacing, particularly during head-to-head competition.

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The Effect of an Integrated Neurofeedback and Biofeedback Training Intervention on Ice Hockey Shooting Performance

Sommer Christie, Maurizio Bertollo, and Penny Werthner

psychophysiology ( Gardner, 2012 ). Furthermore, the experimenter–subject relationship may have also had a confounding effect on the results. Future research should consider adopting a well-controlled design that limits confounding variables by including only one training component (e.g., SMR-NFT only). As

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Pleasant Emotions Widen Thought–Action Repertoires, Develop Long-Term Resources, and Improve Reaction Time Performance: A Multistudy Examination of the Broaden-and-Build Theory Among Athletes

Mark A. Thompson, Adam R. Nicholls, John Toner, John L. Perry, and Rachel Burke

.J. , Wilson , M.R. , & Freeman , P. ( 2012 ). The effect of challenge and threat states on performance: An examination of potential mechanisms . Psychophysiology, 49 ( 10 ), 1417 – 1425 . https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8986.2012.01449.x 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2012.01449.x Neave , N. , & Wolfson , S

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Minding the Body: The Evolution of the Psychology of Physical Activity

Steven J. Petruzzello

.e., emotional tension) on behavior could be considered a precursor to psychophysiology as an approach to studying PPA. It was also during this relatively early period that “sport psychology came of age” ( Landers, 1995 , p. 415), with personality emerging as a topic of interest and sport personality research really

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Cortico-cortical Communication and Superior Performance in Skilled Marksmen: An EEG Coherence Analysis

Sean P. Deeny, Charles H. Hillman, Christopher M. Janelle, and Bradley D. Hatfield

Electroencephalographic (EEG) coherence was assessed during a 4-s aiming period prior to trigger pull in expert marksmen (n = 10) and skilled shooters (n = 9) over the course of a regulation round of small-bore rifle shooting. Although both groups were highly experienced, the skilled group had lower ability. Given that specialization of cortical function occurs as domain-specific expertise increases, experts were predicted to exhibit less cortico-cortical communication, especially between cognitive and motor areas, compared to the skilled group. Coherence was assessed for three frequency bands (low alpha, 8–10 Hz; high alpha, 10–13 Hz; and low beta, 13–22 Hz) using sites F3, Fz, F4, C3, Cz, C4, T3, T4, P3, Pz, P4, O1, and O2. Compared to the skilled group, experts exhibited lower coherence between left temporal (T3) and mid-line frontal (Fz) regions for low-alpha and low-beta frequencies, lower coherence for high-alpha between all left hemisphere sites and (Fz), and lower coherence between T3 and all midline sites for the low-beta band. The results reveal that, compared to lesser skilled shooters, experts engage in less cortico-cortical communication, particularly between left temporal association and motor control regions, which implies decreased involvement of cognition with motor processes.