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Why Do Athletes Choke Under Pressure?

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... This work demonstrates that experts typically maintain motor performance while carrying out a secondary task (see Roberts, Jackson, & Grundy, 2017 for a review). These results have served to challenge the argument that exclusive task-focus is necessary to perform highly practiced motor skills (Beilock & Gray, 2007;Hill, Hanton, Matthews, & Fleming, 2010a). Conventionally, dual-task studies have distracted athletes during the brief moments of execution (Nieuwenhuys & Oudejans, 2012) and accordingly, bypassed the impact of task-irrelevant thought during preparation (Roberts et al., 2017). ...
... For example, performance of mathematical computation (Beilock, Kulp, Holt, & Carr, 2004) and fluid intelligence tests (Gimmig, Huguet, Caverni, & Cury, 2006) are only susceptible to pressure when working memory demands are elevated. Beilock and Gray (2007) proposed that task-irrelevant distraction will harm skills relying on working memory and that skill-focused attention will harm skills that run autonomously. They clarified that in sport, 'strategizing, problem solving and decision making' are probably susceptible to extraneous distraction and that 'a highly practiced golf putt or a baseball swing' are probably susceptible to skill-focused attention (p.434). ...
... The second challenge to Beilock and Gray's (2007) proposal is that sporting experts perform many other cognitive activities in preparation (outside of strategy, decision making, or problem solving) that could also be negatively impacted by extraneous distraction. These include anticipation (Abernethy, 1990), prediction (Gray, 2006), but also intricate self-regulatory cognitions contained in preperformance routines like visualisation (Cohn, Rotella, & Lloyd, 1990), cognitive restructuring (Hill, Hanton, Matthews, & Fleming, 2010b), thought stopping (Jackson & Baker, 2001) or cue focus (Singer, 2000). ...
Article
Significant research has demonstrated that expert sportspeople can accommodate irrelevant thought while executing a highly-rehearsed motor action. However, few studies have explored how irrelevant thought in preparation affects later performance. Accordingly, this repeated-measures experiment had skilled golfers (N = 24) hit approach shots (60–150 m) while secondary tasks interrupted their preparation or execution. The results showed that golfers largely maintained performance, but that distance control of the shortest shots deteriorated when preparation was disrupted. Cluster analysis indicated that interference to short-shot preparation elicited a similar number of cognitive mistakes (e.g. poor decision-making) and execution mistakes (e.g. poor timing). The data suggest that off-task thought during preparation can trigger a variety of errors by preventing the organisation of thought processes necessary for effective action. The study revealed a more complex relationship between off-task thought and motor skill failure than previously recognised.
... Many individuals experience a decrease in performance when under pressure, known as a choking performance, due to psychophysiological changes, such as anxiety (e.g., Beilock and Gray, 2007;Gray and Cañal-Bruland, 2015). In contrast, others are able to achieve high performance levels despite being under pressure (e.g., Gray and Cañal-Bruland, 2015;Hasegawa et al., 2013); this type of performance is known as a clutch performance, which can be defined as superior performance under pressure (Otten, 2009). ...
... Movement kinematics change when state anxiety is evoked due to pressure, which affects movement accuracy (e.g., Cooke et al., 2010;Tanaka and Sekiya, 2010). Two theories have been proposed to explain a deterioration in performance under pressure: the distraction theory (Wine, 1971) and the explicit monitoring theory (Beilock and Gray, 2007). The distraction theory proposes that pressure influences task performance by creating a distracting environment that compromises one's working memory capacity resources. ...
... If the ability of working memory to maintain task focus is disrupted, performance may deteriorate (Wine, 1971). On the other hand, the explicit monitoring theory states that performance anxiety enhances self-consciousness about performance, and this focus on self is thought to prompt the turning of attention towards specific performance processes in an attempt to achieve more explicit monitoring and control than would be applied under a non-pressure situation (Beilock and Gray, 2007). Choking performers pay attention to their own motor control processes and this prevents smooth motor execution and decreases performance, a process referred to as step-by-step control (Masters, 1992). ...
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The present study investigated the relationship between psychophysiological state and clutch or choking performance during golf putting under pressure. Ten males and 13 females who were high-level competitive amateur golfers performed 25 putts under control and pressure conditions. State-Trait Anxiety Inventory-Y1 (STAI-Y1), heart rate variability (HRV), and putting scores were measured. Participants whose performance improved under the pressure condition compared to the control condition were defined as clutch performers and all others were defined as choking performers. Change ratios between the pressure and control conditions for each variable were calculated and compared between clutch and choking performers. There was a significant difference in the change ratio of the low frequency (LF) component of HRV such that LF HRV decreased under the pressure condition compared with the control condition only in choking performers. Thus, LF HRV may be associated with improved fine motor control, such as golf putting, under pressure circumstances.
... It is possible that only biathletes in Q4 choose to use this risky strategy. However, if a biathlete chooses a different strategy in front of a supportive audience, and this strategy results in a poorer performance, then according to Beilock and Gray (2007) , this biathlete chokes under pressure, because he/she performs worse than expected. ...
... For additional references on the link between incentives and performance, see the comprehensive review ofGneezy, Meier and Rey-Biel (2011) . In addition, seeBeilock and Gray (2007) for a psychological review of choking in sports.2 There is a large body of literature on home advantage, which is a well-documented phenomenon in team( Moskowitz and Wertheim, 2011 ) and individual sports( Koning, 2011;Ferreira Julio et al., 2013;Krumer, 2017 ). ...
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You can find a short video on the study here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMmZAMsfR8M
... In contrast, theories in the latter category such as Wine's (1971) Distraction Theory suggest that it is instead an increased focus on task irrelevant thoughts that consumes attentional resources required for task execution. Attentional Control Theory (Eysenck, Derakshan, Santos, & Calvo, 2007) ascribes similar detrimental effects to attending to task irrelevant stimuli in a given situation (for a detailed discussion, see Gray, 2020;Beilock & Gray, 2007). ...
... Empirical tests following in the wake of these theoretical approaches have, in general, provided support for botheven though neither line of evidence is immune to criticism (see Gray, 2020;Beilock & Gray, 2007;Beilock et al., 2001, for comprehensive overviews). What both approaches share, however, is a methodological focus on group level differences Beilock, Carr, MacMahon, & Starkes, 2002;Koedijker & Mann, 2015;Wilson, Wood, & Vine, 2009). ...
Article
Motive disposition theory posits that individuals exhibit stable differences in their achievement, affiliation, and power motives - shaping their capacity to perceive performance, social affiliative, or competitive contexts as rewarding. Whereas this approach has been employed in research on individual differences in motor performance, it has not been considered in predicting individual differences in choking under pressure. Typical pressure manipulations often use competitive or team settings which also constitute prime examples of power and affiliation incentives. Consequently, we hypothesized participants' affiliation (vs. power) motive to be related to golf putting performance in team (vs. competitive) settings. In addition, due to the performance feedback provided by the task, it should also generally appeal to participants high in achievement motivation. Specifically, after a familiarization phase a total of 115 participants completed a baseline assessment of golf putting performance, followed by an experimental block manipulating the task's incentives (competition, team, control) between participants. Analysis of participants' previously assessed motives revealed that both participants' affiliation and achievement motive were positively related to performance (variable error) under pressure. No effects emerged for the power motive. These findings highlight the role of personality differences in predicting motor performance variability in pressure situations. We discuss the specific contributions of projective and self-report motive measures and touch upon possible avenues for coaches and practitioners to counter choking effects.
... Over the years, researchers have developed several theoretical frameworks to explain performance impairments under pressure (Beilock & Gray, 2007;Mesagno & Hill, 2013). ...
... Skill-focus theories postulate that higher levels of state anxiety lead to increased self-ANXIETY AND VOLLEYBALL PERFORMANCE 4 consciousness, meaning that anxious individuals tend to focus their attention "inwards" on the proper execution of a movement: focussing on the specific skill execution in a step-by-step manner may interfere with already proceduralised skills (Beilock & Gray, 2007;Hardy, Mullen, & Jones, 1996;Masters & Maxwell, 2008). Distraction theories (Eysenck & Calvo, 1992;Eysenck et al., 2007), on the other hand, assume that anxiety leads to increased distractibility, as anxious individuals pay more attention to task-irrelevant stimuli (e.g., the audience) instead of the given task. ...
Article
Previous research has repeatedly shown that anxiety can impair academic as well as sports-related performance. Most research in this field has been conducted under artificial laboratory conditions, which is why the aim of the present study was to test the assumption that higher levels of anxiety would impair subsequent sports performance in a real testing situation. The sample of this study consisted of N = 48 university students who had to pass a practical volleyball test in order to receive course credit. We tested the assumption that state anxiety would significantly increase and performance in a volleyball service task would significantly decrease from a neutral situation to the actual practical testing situation at the end of the term. We observed that, while the students’ state anxiety significantly increased from the neutral to the testing situation, there was no significant drop in performance. We only found a significant negative relationship between state anxiety and volleyball test performance for female participants, even though state anxiety increased significantly in both females and males. Practical implications on how to reduce anxiety and improve performance are discussed.
... Despite a wealth of supporting evidence for a home advantage in sport (Jamieson, 2010), researchers drew upon previous studies from sport (Baumeister & Steinhilber, 1984) and non-sport 43 (Butler & Baumeister, 1998) contexts demonstrating that individuals seemed to "choke" in the 44 presence of supportive (home) audiences in certain critical/high-pressure situations. Briefly, choking 45 under pressure is thought to occur because the conscious mind interferes with, and hence impairs, 46 automatic skill execution (e.g., Allen & Jones, 2014;Baumeister, 1984;Beilock & Gray, 2007 The regular season game format during these nine seasons consisted of three 20-min periods of 5-on-59 5 (skaters per team) hockey (i.e., regulation time), followed by a 4-on-4 "sudden death" overtime 60 period if needed, followed by a shootout if needed. 1 Hoffmann et al. reported that 76.5% of games 61 ended in regulation, 10.1% of games concluded in overtime, and 13.4% of games were prolonged 62 into the shootout. Descriptively, home teams won 56.6% of the games ending in regulation, 54.2% of 63 games ending in overtime, and 47.6% of games that extended into the shootout. ...
Article
Past research examining National Hockey League (professional ice hockey; NHL) data from the 4-on-4 overtime era (seasons between 2005-06 and 2013-14) revealed an inconsistent home team (dis)advantage pattern (Hoffmann et al., 2017) such that home teams that were superior to their visiting counterparts had slightly greater odds of winning during regulation play compared to overtime (demonstrating home crowd advantages for team performance during regulation); in contrast, home teams experienced lower odds of winning in the shootout period than in overtime regardless of team quality (thereby demonstrating risks for individual choking from home crowd pressures). In this study, we explored the NHL home (dis)advantage pattern during four more recent seasons (2015-16 through 2018-19) in which the league instituted 3-on-3 play during overtime (perhaps increasing individual pressure for athletes competing in the 3-on-3 overtime period). We used archival data from the regular season (N = 5,002 games) to compare home teams’ odds of winning in regulation (with 5-on-5 skaters per team) to overtime (with 3-on-3) and in the shootout, adjusting for the quality of home and visiting teams. We conducted fixed-effects and multi-level logistic regression modeling. Evenly matched home teams were 1.66 times more likely to win than inferior home teams when games concluded in regulation versus overtime. Superior home teams were 4.24 times more likely to win than inferior home teams when games concluded in regulation rather than overtime. Thus, it is apparently more difficult for superior and evenly matched home teams to win in overtime than during regulation, suggesting that such home teams may be susceptible to choking in overtime. In contrast to the earlier 4-on-4 overtime era, home teams did not have lower odds of winning in the shootout compared to overtime. These results may have implications for NHL coaches’ and players’ tactical decision-making.
... One interesting possibility is that shifts of the meta-prior during planning could affect the quality of motor plan generation analogously to the choking effect [4,7]. The choking effect is the tendency of athletic experts to show performance disruption such as drops in the quality and precision of generated sensorimotor behavior. ...
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It is crucial to ask how agents can achieve goals by generating action plans using only partial models of the world acquired through habituated sensory-motor experiences. Although many existing robotics studies use a forward model framework, there are generalization issues with high degrees of freedom. The current study shows that the predictive coding (PC) and active inference (AIF) frameworks, which employ a generative model, can develop better generalization by learning a prior distribution in a low dimensional latent state space representing probabilistic structures extracted from well habituated sensory-motor trajectories. In our proposed model, learning is carried out by inferring optimal latent variables as well as synaptic weights for maximizing the evidence lower bound, while goal-directed planning is accomplished by inferring latent variables for maximizing the estimated lower bound. Our proposed model was evaluated with both simple and complex robotic tasks in simulation, which demonstrated sufficient generalization in learning with limited training data by setting an intermediate value for a regularization coefficient. Furthermore, comparative simulation results show that the proposed model outperforms a conventional forward model in goal-directed planning, due to the learned prior confining the search of motor plans within the range of habituated trajectories.
... One interesting possibility is that shifts of the meta-prior during planning could affect the quality of motor plan generation analogously to the choking effect [36,37]. The choking effect is the tendency of athletic experts to show performance disruption such as drops in the quality and precision of generated sensorimotor behavior. ...
Article
Full-text available
It is crucial to ask how agents can achieve goals by generating action plans using only partial models of the world acquired through habituated sensory-motor experiences. Although many existing robotics studies use a forward model framework, there are generalization issues with high degrees of freedom. The current study shows that the predictive coding (PC) and active inference (AIF) frameworks, which employ a generative model, can develop better generalization by learning a prior distribution in a low dimensional latent state space representing probabilistic structures extracted from well habituated sensory-motor trajectories. In our proposed model, learning is carried out by inferring optimal latent variables as well as synaptic weights for maximizing the evidence lower bound, while goal-directed planning is accomplished by inferring latent variables for maximizing the estimated lower bound. Our proposed model was evaluated with both simple and complex robotic tasks in simulation, which demonstrated sufficient generalization in learning with limited training data by setting an intermediate value for a regularization coefficient. Furthermore, comparative simulation results show that the proposed model outperforms a conventional forward model in goal-directed planning, due to the learned prior confining the search of motor plans within the range of habituated trajectories.
... EFT claims that skilful performance drops when the fluid motor sequences generated by well-practised, and to a large extent automated, sensorimotor routines are disrupted by obsessive selfmonitoring. The assumption is that well-practised motor behaviours are faster, more fluid, and consequently more precise when executed without explicit self-monitoring, as deliberately focusing on the action execution reportedly interferes with the dynamic, smooth integration of fine-tuned and well-coordinated movements that characterize expert, automated action routines (Beilock and Gray, 2007;. ...
Article
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Choking effect (choke) is the tendency of expert athletes to underperform in high-stakes situations. We propose an account of choke based on active inference-a corollary of the free energy principle in cognitive neuroscience. The active inference scheme can explain certain forms of sensorimotor skills disruption in terms of precision-modulated imbalance between sensory input and higher-level predictions. This model predicts that choke arises when the system fails to attenuate the error signal generated by proprioceptive sensory input. We aim to expand the previous formulations of this model to integrate the contribution of other causal factors, such as confidence erosion, taking into account the empirical evidence emerging from the psychological research on performance disruption in sports. Our expanded model allows us to unify the two main theories of performance disruption in the sport psychology literature, i.e. the self-monitoring/execution focus theory and the distraction/ overload theory, while recognizing that the typical manifestations of choke in sport competitions are best accounted for by self-monitoring/ execution focus theory. We illustrate how active inference explains some experiential aspects of choke that are familiar to sport psychologists and practitioners: choke is a skill-level specific phenomenon; alleviated by ritual-like pre-performance routines; aggravated by personal and contextual factors such as self-confidence erosion and performance anxiety; accompanied by a drop in the attenuation of the sense of agency normally associated with high performance and flow states.
... Performance anxiety has been studied most extensively in musicians (G. D. Wilson & Roland, 2002;Valentine, 2002), athletes (Beilock & Gray, 2007), test takers (Holroyd et al., 1978), dancers (Walker & Nordin-Bates, 2010), and actors (Konijin, 1991), but can occur in any context where skilled acts are socially evaluated. For some, performance anxiety can lead to significant distress (Clark & Agras, 1991), degrading their emotional state and their ability to perform (DeCaro et al., 2011;Fehm & Schmidt, 2006;Lehrer, 1995). ...
Article
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Current psychological theories of performance anxiety focus heavily on relating performers’ physiological and mental states to their abilities to maintain focus and execute learned skills. How task-specific expertise and past experiences moderate the degree to which individuals become anxious in a given performance context are not well accounted for within these theories. This review considers how individual differences arising from learning may shape the psychobiological, emotional, and cognitive processes that modulate anxious states associated with the performance of highly trained skills. Current approaches to understanding performance anxiety are presented, followed by a critique of these approaches. A connectionist model is proposed as an alternative approach to characterising performance anxiety by viewing performers’ anxious states at a specific time point as jointly determined by experience-dependent plasticity, competition between motivational systems, and ongoing cognitive and somatic states. Clarifying how experience-dependent plasticity contributes to the emergence of socio-evaluative anxiety in challenging situations can not only help performers avoid developing maladaptive emotional responses, but may also provide new clues about how memories of past events and imagined future states interact with motivational processes to drive changes in emotional states and cognitive processing.
... At the individual level, emotional constraints include innate dispositional characteristics that predispose some individuals to interpret or react to stimuli in different ways. For example, trait anxious individuals are known to exhibit anxiety in response to a variety of stimuli and situations (e.g., Mogg, Bradley, & Hallowell, 1994), routinely underperform relative to their lessanxious counterparts (e.g., LanYa, ChungJu, & TsungMin, 2015), and are more likely to choke under pressure (Beilock & Gray, 2012). The emotional constraints associated with aspects of the task (i.e., sport) can include unfamiliarity with changes in rules or lack of confidence in the ability to perform movements. ...
... SFTs and DTs basically posit that choking ensues from paying too much attention (SFTs) or not enough (DTs) to the task at hand, oneself, or both. They can be contrasted (Beilock and Gray 2007) and even integrated . SFTs argue that performance pressures negatively affect self-consciousness, which then affects performance, either directly (Baumeister 1984;Baumeister and Showers 1986), associated with but independent of task-monitoring (Carr 2014), or even tied to explicit skill knowledge (Masters 1992). ...
... This diversion of 13 cognitive resources is hypothesized to decrease attention paid to task-relevant processes, 14 resulting in a performance decline (Eysenck et al., 2007). 15 Alternatively, advocates of the self-focus model or the explicit monitoring theory 16 (e.g., Baumeister, 1984;Beilock & Carr, 2001;Masters, 1992) proposed that the decrease in 17 performance under pressure stems from an over-awareness of the movement action itself 18 (Beilock & Gray, 2007;Mesagno et al., 2015). This occurs as self-consciousness increases 19 alongside anxiety about correct task execution and leads to a step-by-step monitoring of the 20 task (Beilock & Carr, 2001). ...
Article
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Researchers who examine existing models of choking under pressure are beginning to explore the antecedents that predispose individuals to increased anxiety. Irrational beliefs (IBs) may be one such antecedent to “choking”, given that irrational beliefs are closely associated with anxiety intensity. This study aimed to investigate whether IBs influenced anxiety and performance under pressure. Experienced Australian football players (N = 35) completed an IBs questionnaire prior to an Australian football set shot experiment with low- and high-pressure. During both pressure conditions, participants completed a state anxiety questionnaire prior to completing 15 set shots on goal. Results indicated that cognitive and somatic anxiety increased from low- to high-pressure. For somatic anxiety, an IBs main effect approached significance, indicating higher somatic anxiety with increases in IBs. A marginally significant Condition main effect was found for performance, which decreased from low- to high-pressure, with no other effects for performance evident. Follow-up correlation analysis of seven athletes who likely experienced choking (i.e., greater than 15-point performance decrease) indicated a strong negative correlation between IBs and change in performance from low- to high-pressure. Further analyses for “chokers” indicated a significant IBs x Condition interaction, with performance tending to increase with increasing IBs under low-pressure and decrease with increasing IBs under high-pressure. This study provides initial, tentative support that IBs associated with performance trends of “chokers” under different pressure conditions may be dissimilar to those of “underperformers” or “clutch” performers. Applied implications for sport psychologists working with athletes are discussed. Lay Summary: This paper investigated whether inflexible thoughts (i.e., irrational beliefs- IBs) led to increased anxiety and “choking”. Athletes completed an IBs questionnaire, then an anxiety survey during a football kicking task under low- and high-pressure. Results indicated IBs may affect “chokers” response to pressure differently to other groups.
... On the one hand, the existing literature related to potential "choking under pressure" indicates broad agreement that performance in skill tasks declines in high-pressure or decisive situations. An individual is said to be choking under pressure when their performance is worse than expected given their capabilities and past performances [11]. While there may also be random fluctuations in skill levels, choking under pressure refers to systematic suboptimal performance in high-pressure situations. ...
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Understanding and predicting how individuals perform in high-pressure situations is of importance in designing and managing workplaces. We investigate performance under pressure in professional darts as a near-ideal setting with no direct interaction between players and a high number of observations per subject. Analyzing almost one year of tournament data covering 32,274 dart throws, we find no evidence in favor of either choking or excelling under pressure.
... Moreover, the predominant theories have been reported to predict choking depending on the skill level of athletes. Distraction theories can explain choking under pressure for novice players while self-focus theories can explain choking for more skilled players (Beilock & Gray, 2007). We believe a combination of both distraction and self-focus theories supports the findings of the current study, because we used student-athletes with a wide range of abilities, from domestic competition through to sub-elite competition, as the participants. ...
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Choking in sport is precipitated by a broad range of documented antecedents. One potential antecedent that may hinder performance under pressure is physical exertion. In the current experiment, a within-subjects design was implemented with 50 student-athletes who completed 40 basketball free-throws in four manipulated conditions: higher pressure-running, higher pressure-no running, lower pressure running, and lower pressure-no running. A repeated measures analysis of variance revealed that participants scored significantly lower in the higher-pressure conditions than the lower-pressure conditions. Furthermore, participants scored significantly higher in the no-running conditions compared to the running conditions. The current results are in keeping with the conventional wisdom that physical effort can undermine performance in pressure circumstances. The applied implications of these results are discussed and tentative conclusions drawn for sport psychologists, coaches, and athletes.
... Another benefit of an external focus of attention relates to the phenomenon known as "choking", whereby a skilled performer produces sub-optimal performance under the extreme pressures of competition (see Beilock & Gray, 2007 for a review). One explanation for choking suggests that highly practiced tasks are typically performed in an automatic nature, with little attention focused internally. ...
... That said, it is not clear how significant this doubt should be. Support for the idea that expert actions are highly proceduralized comes from a wide range of experiments (Beilock, Carr, MacMahon & Starkes, 2002, Beilock & Gray, 2007DeCaro, Thomas, Albert & Beilock, 2011;Jackson, Beilock & Kinrade, 2013), yet most of these experiments investigate physical skills while the effect of mind wandering on performance has been tested primarily in the domains of reading comprehension, sustained attention, working memory and performance on various other cognitive skills, many of which have success conditions defined in terms of memory: if you fail to recall that you performed a stunning quadruple pirouette, your pirouette will be no less stunning, but if you fail to recall what you have read, your reading comprehension will plummet. 4 Moreover, assuming that mind-wandering need not accompany all automatically performed actions, then (even if both cognitive and physical highly practiced skills tend to be more susceptible to mind wandering than less practiced skills) if mind-wandering occurs infrequently during the performance of highly practiced skills, expert action could, consistent with the automatization explanation of postperformance amnesia, be automatized (and therefore not readily recalled) and generally highly proficient. ...
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It has been hypothesized that postperformance memory gaps occur in highly skilled individuals because experts generally perform their skills without conscious attention. In contrast, we hypothesize that such memory gaps may occur when performers focus so intently on their unfolding actions that their ongoing attention interferes with long‐term memory formation of what was previously attended to, or when performers are highly focused on aspects of their bodily skills that are not readily put into words. In neither case, we argue, does performance proceed automatically yet both situations, we suggest, may lead to an inability to recollect performance.
... A preperformance routine creates a systematic structure for the athlete to rely on when experiencing a high demand situation [35]. Thus, in a high-pressured free throw situation, attention allocation shifts internally and to a worrying thought (e.g., the importance of the shots and what will happen if missed) [36]. A preperformance routine can be implemented to refocus and eliminate any irrelevant thoughts [37]. ...
Chapter
The role of psychological processes in team sports has been studied extensively. The chapter focuses on the psychological factors that are unique to basketball. These factors include: (a) free throw shooting – examining the role of gaze behavior in enhancing shooting percentages, (b) ‘’the hot hand’’ – the underlying mechanisms leading to a ‘’hot streak’’, (c) clutch performance under pressure – why some players choke in critical game situations while others flourish, and (d) team decision making – team performance as a unit which operates with optimal coordination and communication. This chapter consists of research findings and theoretical insights to capture the mechanisms leading to enhanced psychological skills and expert performance. Furthermore, this chapter provides guidelines for improving performance by transferring the knowledge gained from research to the applied domain. General psychological skills such as pre-performance routine, decision making, and attention are examined throughout the chapter. A final summary of findings, including limitations in the current literature and future directions to enhance the domain are provided.
... On the other hand, deliberate attempts to consciously control movements involved in a skilled motor activity tend to be counterproductive, resulting in deautomatization (Masters, 1992). This reduction in automaticity, or "choking" (Baumeister, 1984;Beilock & Gray, 2007), refers to the breakdown of well-practiced movement sequences under conditions that increase performancerelated concerns and amplify internally focused attention. ...
Article
Purpose Contemporary motor theories indicate that well-practiced movements are best performed automatically, without conscious attention or monitoring. We applied this perspective to speech production in school-age children and examined how dual-task conditions that engaged sustained attention affected speech fluency, speech rate, and language productivity in children with and without stuttering disorders. Method Participants included 47 children (19 children who stutter, 28 children who do not stutter) from 7 to 12 years of age. Children produced speech in two baseline conditions with no concurrent task and under a dual-task condition requiring sustained attention to on-screen stimuli. Measures of speech fluency, speech rate, and language productivity were obtained for each trial and compared across conditions and groups. Results Dual-task conditions resulted in a reduction in stutter-like disfluencies relative to the initial baseline speaking condition. Effects were similar for both groups of children and could not be attributed to decreases in language productivity or a simple order effect. Conclusions Findings suggest that diverting attention during the process of speech production enhances speech fluency in children, possibly by increasing the automaticity of motor speech sequences. Further research is needed to clarify neurophysiological mechanisms underlying these changes and to evaluate potential clinical applications of such effects. Supplemental Material https://doi.org/10.23641/asha.19945838
... Research on choking under pressure has considered di erent explanations, with the distraction model and the self-focus model being the most prominent standpoints ( Beilock & Gray, 2007 ;Lewis & Linder, 1997 ). The distraction model suggest performance drop occurs because athletes become distracted due to task-irrelevant thoughts (see also Chapter 5 ). ...
... Although Dreyfus' arguments do not rely on literature from sports psychology, there are studies from this domain on the phenomenon of choking under pressure that support the view. That is, some of the research on choking under pressure supports habitualism and gives us reason to doubt intellectualism about skilled behavior (Beilock and Gray 2007;Beilock and Carr 2001;Beilock et al. 2002). Choking under pressure refers to a decrease in performance when experts experience pressure or stress in response to a given situation. ...
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Peak human performance—whether of Olympic athletes, Nobel prize winners, or you cooking the best dish you’ve ever made—depends on skill. Skill is at the heart of what it means to excel. Yet, the fixity of skilled behavior can sometimes make it seem a lower-level activity, more akin to the movements of an invertebrate or a machine. Peak performance in elite athletes is often described, for example, as “automatic” by those athletes: “The most frequent response from participants (eight athletes and one coach) when describing the execution of a peak performance was the automatic execution of performance” (Anderson et al. 2014). While the automaticity of skilled behavior is widely acknowledged, some worry that too much automaticity in skill would challenge its ability to exhibit human excellence. And so two camps have developed: those who focus on the automaticity of skilled behavior, the “habitualists,” and those who focus on the higher-level cognition behind peak performance, the “intellectualists.” We take a different tack. We argue that skilled behavior weaves together automaticity and higher-level cognition, which we call “pluralism.” That is, we argue that automaticity and higher-level cognition are both normal features of skilled behavior that benefit skilled behavior. This view is hinted at in other quotes about automaticity in skill—while expert gamers describe themselves as “playing with” automaticity (Taylor and Elam 2018), expert musicians are said to balance automaticity with creativity through performance cues: “Performance cues allow the musician to attend to some aspects of the performance while allowing others to be executed automatically” (Chaffin and Logan 2006). We describe in this paper three ways that higher-level cognition and automaticity are woven together. The first two, level pluralism and synchronic pluralism, are described in other papers, albeit under different cover. We take our contribution to be both distinguishing the three forms and contributing the third, diachronic pluralism. In fact, we find that diachronic pluralism presents the strongest case against habitualism and intellectualism, especially when considered through the example of strategic automaticity. In each case of pluralism, we use research on the presence or absence of attention (e.g., in mind wandering) to explore the presence or absence of higher-level cognition in skilled behavior.
... If it is true that haptic cues are potentially more powerful for judgments of future performance (and likewise related to subsequent performance), it might be that pressuring factors could be especially deleterious in physical tasks. This might also connect these results on metacognitive accuracy to the phenomenon of "choking," which has been studied extensively within physical task contexts (e.g., playing baseball, shooting free-throws) (e.g., Beilock & Carr, 2001;Beilock & Gray, 2007;Worthy et al., 2009). ...
Article
Metacognition is often considered a critical component of learning and higher-order cognition; however, does metacognitive accuracy remain constant across all tasks, specifically in tasks that involve physical or procedural components? To investigate the consistency of metacognitive judgments across various task types, participants completed word and number recall tasks, and also completed three simple physical skill tasks (e.g., catching a ball in a cup). Participants made metacognitive judgments about their performance in all tasks. Results indicated that while participants demonstrated traditional levels of relative metacognitive accuracy in more cognitive tasks, participants were significantly more accurate in their judgments for physical skill tasks. In other words, relative accuracy for metacognitive judgments in physical tasks appears to be significantly higher than for cognitive tasks. This represents the first such demonstration of this effect and suggests that characteristics of physical tasks somehow improve participants' judgments of how well they have learned.
... how psychological pressure can create the negative emotional state of anxiety (comprised of cognitive worry and physiological arousal; Eysenck, 2013), which subsequently impairs the execution of welllearned skills (Roberts et al., 2019). This impairment has been termed choking and occurs when a performer exhibits a negative response to perceived pressure, despite striving to perform well (Baumeister, 1984;Beilock & Gray, 2007;Hill et al., 2010). Irrespective of whether this breakdown occurs due to the disruption of automated motor processes or distraction via worry (see, (Payne et al., 2018;Roberts et al., 2017)for recent reviews), there remains a persistent puzzle surrounding who copes and who chokes under pressure (Hill et al., 2010;Otten, 2009). ...
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Objectives: In the context of Grand Slam tennis, we sought to examine how situational pressure and prior errors can disrupt subsequent performance in elite performers. Methods: A retrospective analysis of more than 650,000 points across 12 Grand Slam tennis tournaments from 2016-2019 was conducted to identify pressurised in-game moments and unforced errors. A scoring system was used to index situational pressure based on the current match situation (e.g., break points, stage of the match) on a point-by-point basis. The occurrence of performance errors was identified based on double faults and unforced errors, as instances of controllable mistakes. Results: A mixed effects logistic regression model revealed that an increase in the pressure index (a 1-5 score) significantly increased the probability of a performance error (ps<.001), as did an error on the preceding point (OR=1.2, 95%CI [1.17, 1.23], p<.001). A multiplicative effect of pressure and prior errors also emerged, as the negative impact of prior errors on performance was greater when situational pressure was already high, in line with the predictions of Attentional Control Theory: Sport (ACTS). Analyses of the distribution of winners and unforced errors across individual players revealed that winning players were as susceptible to pressure and prior errors as losing players. Conclusions: These findings extend our understanding of how ongoing feedback from prior mistakes may further exacerbate the effects of pressure on performance.
... how psychological pressure can create the negative emotional state of anxiety (comprised of cognitive worry and physiological arousal; Eysenck, 2013), which subsequently impairs the execution of welllearned skills (Roberts et al., 2019). This impairment has been termed choking and occurs when a performer exhibits a negative response to perceived pressure, despite striving to perform well (Baumeister, 1984;Beilock & Gray, 2007;Hill et al., 2010). Irrespective of whether this breakdown occurs due to the disruption of automated motor processes or distraction via worry (see, (Payne et al., 2018;Roberts et al., 2017)for recent reviews), there remains a persistent puzzle surrounding who copes and who chokes under pressure (Hill et al., 2010;Otten, 2009). ...
Article
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Objectives In the context of Grand Slam tennis, we sought to examine how situational pressure and prior errors can disrupt subsequent performance in elite performers. Methods A retrospective analysis of more than 650,000 points across 12 Grand Slam tennis tournaments from 2016 to 2019 was conducted to identify pressurised in-game moments and unforced errors. A scoring system was used to index situational pressure based on the current match situation (e.g., break points, stage of the match) on a point-by-point basis. The occurrence of performance errors was identified based on double faults and unforced errors, as instances of controllable mistakes. Results A mixed effects logistic regression model revealed that an increase in the pressure index (a 1–5 score) significantly increased the probability of a performance error (ps < .001), as did an error on the preceding point (OR = 1.2, 95%CI [1.17, 1.23], p < .001). A multiplicative effect of pressure and prior errors also emerged, as the negative impact of prior errors on performance was greater when situational pressure was already high, in line with the predictions of Attentional Control Theory: Sport (ACTS). Analyses of the distribution of winners and unforced errors across individual players revealed that winning players were as susceptible to pressure and prior errors as losing players. Conclusions These findings extend our understanding of how ongoing feedback from prior mistakes may further exacerbate the effects of pressure on performance.
... In terms of implications for coaches and athletes, our findings suggest that no focus instruction in skilled performers may result in a superior cognitive-motor processing and performance when they face challenging situations (Beilock and Gray, 2007;Toner and Moran, 2015). In addition, our EEG results showed that the skilled golfers' attentional processes initially resembled in an external focus of attention and then moved toward an internal focus of attention. ...
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The aim of the current compendium on the psychology of sport, performance, and ethics was to assemble both theoretical and applied research from experts within the field of sport psychology, sociology, performance, and exercise. Twelve articles, written by researchers from Brazil, China, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Taiwan, and the United States, were divided into four chapters. The first chapter, “Decision-Making Challenges in Dynamic Sporting Environments” holds four articles: Gershgoren et al. introduce the chapter Perceived Performance in Team Sports Questionnaire to capture the team members’ perception of their team’s performance. Samuel et al.’s case study adopted an intrinsic mixed-methods methodology to investigate the implementation of the video assistant (soccer) referee system within the Israeli Premier League context. Johansen and Erikstad investigated elite referees’ positioning in the field of play (distance, angle, and insight) when making correct and erroneous decisions in potential penalty situations. Finally, Del Campo and Martin assessed the effects of manipulating video speeds on visual behavior and decision accuracy of 10 amateur football assistant referees when watching video sequences of 24 possible offside actions.
... For additional references on the link between incentives and performance, see the comprehensive review ofGneezy, Meier and Rey-Biel (2011). In addition, seeBeilock and Gray (2007) for a psychological review of choking in sports. ...
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In this article we list the advantages of using sports data for economic research. We also provide a rich overview of economic literature that used sports data to test different fundamental economic theories as well as articles that presented divergences of economic decision making from neo-classical theories. Finally we present articles that were published in this special issue on behavioral economics and decision making in sports, all of which try to answer more general questions by means of sports data.
... In contrast, even though the experience or display of shame might have prompted players to adjust their behaviour (Beall & Tracy, 2020), it led players to make more errors on the test. To make amends, players may have focused their attention internally, consciously trying to control their movement execution; which for skilled performers may hinder the automaticity of the movement and result in more errors (Beilock & Gray, 2007). Alternatively, it may have led to a fear of failure resulting in tension, a disrupted focus and potential disengagement from the task (Hofseth et al., 2017). ...
Article
Objectives Across two experiments, we examined the effects of coaches' nonverbal expressions of pride, shame, and happiness on players' emotions and performance. Design Both experiments employed a between (emotional expression manipulation) within (pre- and post-manipulation) subjects design. Method An expert male football coach was scripted to deliver performance feedback randomly displaying a specified emotion to skilled players who had just performed a passing test. In Experiment 1 (n = 28), players' actual coach displayed pride or shame. In Experiment 2 (n = 60), a confederate displayed pride, shame, happiness, or a neutral expression. Players then performed the passing test for a second time. In both experiments, players reported their emotions and perceptions of the coach. Results The results showed that coaches' emotional expressions influenced players' emotions especially when players held a close relationship with the coach. Regardless, coaches' display of pride and happiness benefitted players' performance while the display of shame did not. Conclusion These findings provide the first experimental evidence for the effects of coaches' emotional expressions on players' emotions and performance. These findings have important practical implications and advance the literature on how coaches' emotional expressions may influence players' emotions and performance.
... In terms of implications for coaches and athletes, our findings suggest that no focus instruction in skilled performers may result in a superior cognitive-motor processing and performance when they face challenging situations (Beilock and Gray, 2007;Toner and Moran, 2015). In addition, our EEG results showed that the skilled golfers' attentional processes initially resembled in an external focus of attention and then moved toward an internal focus of attention. ...
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The meshed control theory assumes that cognitive control and automatic processes work together in the natural attention of experts for superior performance. However, the methods adopted by previous studies limit their capacity to provide in-depth information on the neuromotor processes. This experiment tested the theory with an alternative approach. Twelve skilled golfers were recruited to perform a putting task under three conditions: (1) normal condition, with no focus instruction (NC), (2) external focus of attention condition (EC), and (3) internal focus of attention condition (IC). Four blocks of 10 putts each were performed under each condition. The putting success rate and accuracy were measured and electroencephalographies (EEGs) were recorded. The behavioral results showed that the NC produced a higher putting success rate and accuracy than the EC and IC. The EEG data showed that the skilled golfers' attentional processes in the NC initially resembled those in the EC and then moved toward those in the IC just before putting. This indicates a switch from more automatic processes to cognitive control processes while preparing to putt. The findings offer support for the meshed control theory and indicate the dynamic nature of neuromotor processes for the superior performance of athletes in challenging situations.
Article
The sports domain presents a number of significant computational challenges for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). In this paper, we explore the techniques that have been applied to the challenges within team sports thus far. We focus on a number of different areas, namely match outcome prediction, tactical decision making, player investments, fantasy sports, and injury prediction. By assessing the work in these areas, we explore how AI is used to predict match outcomes and to help sports teams improve their strategic and tactical decision making. In particular, we describe the main directions in which research efforts have been focused to date. This highlights not only a number of strengths but also weaknesses of the models and techniques that have been employed. Finally, we discuss the research questions that exist in order to further the use of AI and ML in team sports.
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We analyze performance under pressure and estimate the causal effect of audience size on the success of free throws in top-level professional basketball. We use data from the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the seasons 2007/08 through 2015/16. We exploit the exogenous variation in weather conditions on game day to establish a causal link between attendance size and performance. Our results confirm a sizeable and strong negative effect of the number of spectators on performance. Home teams in (non-critical) situations at the beginning of games perform worse when the audience is larger. This result is consistent with the theory of a home choke rather than a home field advantage. Our results have potentially large implications for general questions of workplace design and help to further understand how the social environment affects performance. We demonstrate that positive feedback from a friendly audience does affect performance negatively.
Article
Jockeying and competing for higher status is an inherent feature of rank-ordered hierarchies. Despite theoretically acknowledging rank changes within hierarchies, the extant literature has ignored the role of competitors’ dynamic movements on a focal actor’s resulting behavior. By using a dynamic lens to examine these movement in competitive situations, we examine how positive change in a competitor’s rank—that is, positive status momentum—affects a focal actor’s psychology and resulting performance. We consider the real-world contexts of 5.2 million observations of chess tournaments and 117,762 observations of professional tennis players and find that a focal actor’s performance in both cognitive and physical competitions is negatively impacted when facing a competitor with positive momentum. Additionally, 4 experimental studies reveal that a competitor’s positive momentum results in the focal actor’s positive projection of the competitor’s future rank, which, in turn, increases the psychological threat for the actor. Collectively, our findings advance the social hierarchy literature by helping to elucidate the manner in which rank-ordered hierarchies are negotiated and disrupted over time.
Chapter
In diesem Kapitel werden sportpsychologische Faktoren vorgestellt, die entweder in einem Zusammenhang mit der sportlichen Leistung stehen oder diese beeinflussen. Wir geben zunächst einen Überblick, der sich am Grundmodell der psychologischen Verhaltenserklärung orientiert. Danach illustrieren wir diese Perspektive von Sportpsychologie, indem wir näher auf Forschung zur Leistung in Gruppen eingehen.
Chapter
Regelmäßige körperliche Aktivität, gesunde Ernährung oder das rechtzeitige Lernen für eine Abschlussklausur sind erstrebenswerte Verhaltensweisen, die jedoch von vielen Menschen nicht (dauerhaft) umgesetzt werden. Neben der Motivation spielt für die persistente Umsetzung von Zielintentionen die Volition eine entscheidende Rolle. „Volition“ dient in diesem Zusammenhang als Sammelbegriff für selbstregulatorische Funktionen, die die Initiierung und Aufrechterhaltung einer Zielintention ermöglichen, und zwar auch dann, wenn Handlungsbarrieren auftreten. Im vorliegenden Kapitel sollen drei der zentralen Volitionstheorien dargestellt und diskutiert werden: das Rubikon-Modell der Handlungsphasen, die Theorie der Handlungskontrolle und das Kraftspeichermodell der Selbstkontrolle. Darüber hinaus werden jeweils Handlungsempfehlungen abgeleitet, um eine dauerhafte Umsetzung von Zielintentionen zu unterstützen.
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The conscious mind is sometimes seen as getting in the way of doing things well. My aim in this chapter is to lay out and, to the best of my ability, knock down what I see as the three central reasons wielded in of support of the contention that conscious attention to action hinders performance: experimental data indicates that conscious attention to skill precipitates choking under pressure, certain actions proceed too quickly for conscious thought, and experts are frequently unable to recall what they do in their domain of skill. I conclude by offering some reasons to accept that online conscious thought about what you are doing is compatible with expertise.
Article
Purpose This study aims to investigate the experience of service yips in badminton players in depth through using grounded theory method. Methods We collected data from in-depth interviews with 14 participants in total, consisting of badminton players who experienced service yips, their doubles partners and coaches. The collected raw data were analyzed base on derive transcription, coding and paradigm models through grounded theory method. Results First, as a result, 59 concepts, 31 subcategories and 15 categories in regard to badminton service yips were deduced from open coding. Second, in axial coding, it was structured in a paradigm model by categories such as service yips, service mistakes, service proficiency, service anxiety, the imprinting experiences, the importance competition, the pressure of achievement, service practice, psychological control, tactical handling, support from partners, leaders’ coaching, advice from experienced ones, overcoming yips and persistent yips. Third, selective coding resulted in ‘Badminton service yips’ as the core category of this study. ‘Badminton service yips’ is a chronic performance impairment associated with badminton players making severe errors in swing motion on a service not intended by them that it is due to physiological or psychological symptoms such as hand tremors, overall body stiffness, arms stiffness, overstress, overanxiety, and concern over service mistakes. Conclusions We expect our study can be a theoretical foundation for understanding and explanation of ‘Badminton service yips’ and a useful reference for badminton players suffering from psychological difficulties caused by their service yips. The findings in this study should be considered for the development of potential strategies for overcoming the badminton service yips.
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High mindfulness individuals have been found to perform better on motor tasks under various conditions, but it is unknown whether mindfulness and performance relate when performing under pressure or using different types of self-talk with different motor tasks. In this study, 46 male participants ( Mage = 21.4, SD = 1.72 years) with high mindfulness ( n = 23) and low mindfulness ( n = 23) performed dart-throwing and two-hand coordination tasks under pressure and non-pressure conditions and when using instructional and unrelated self-talk. First, on the two-hand coordination task, a three-way mixed ANOVA found: (a) a significant 3-way interaction in which a significantly poorer performance occurred under pressure (vs. without pressure), with low (vs. high) mindfulness and when using unrelated (vs. instructional) self-talk and (b) a significant interaction in which, both under pressure and not, both high and low mindfulness participants performed comparably when using instructional (vs. unrelated) self-talk. Second, on the dart-throwing task, mindfulness interacted with self-talk such that both high and low mindfulness participants performed better when using instructional self-talk, and pressure interacted with self-talk such that participants using instructional (vs. unrelated) self-talk performed better in both pressure and non-pressure conditions. We concluded that instructional self-talk was a useful cognitive strategy, perhaps particularly in pressure conditions and regardless of the degree of mindfulness, and its effectiveness extended to two different motor tasks. We discussed the theoretical implications of these findings, in terms of attention theory, self-talk, and motor control; and we highlighted our study’s limitations and practical applications and gave recommendations for future research.
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The aim of this study was to monitor the mental activation training during match pressure imageries using a protocol with (MT) and without mental training (wMT) performed in the office and on the tennis court based on the analysis of heart rate, brain waves and subjective ratings in a professional tennis player with high imagery experience. Results showed that both in the office (MTo/wMTo) and on the court (MTc/wMTc) the tennis player’s heart rate increased in the match pressure imagery (I.3-8), being higher in the MTo. It decreased in the pressure imagery using mental tools (I.8-13) in the MT. In the case of brainwaves, beta and gamma waves increased in the match pressure imagery (I.3-8); while beta, gamma, delta and theta waves decreased in the pressure imagery using mental tools (I.8-13), being higher in the office. Entropy decreased in the match pressure imagery (I.3-8), being higher in the MTo. It increased in the pressure imagery using mental tools (I.8-13), being higher in the MTo. Regarding subjective ratings, the tennis player felt the pressure in the match pressure imagery, being higher in MT. In the pressure imagery using mental tools he regulated the activation to feel it at an optimal level (7). In the imagery reality, the olfactory and gustatory dimensions were the most difficult to feel in both imageries. Keywords EEG monitoring, mental activation training, pressure, imagery, EEG, tennis
Article
This study uses a phenomenological approach to explore the experience of choking (underperformance) among commercial pilots. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight pilots, including three examiners (as observers of choking). Findings revealed three superordinate themes: choking under pressure, short-term consequences of choking, and long-term consequences of choking. Collectively, choking was found to be a traumatic event with negative short-term consequences and a potential to lead to constructive long-term outcomes. Practical implications of the findings are discussed, suggesting ways to optimize pilots’ performance through focusing more on psychoeducation and emotional support of employees after choking.
Article
Despite a huge amount of research conducted on performance under competitive pressure, the different components of a competitive environment such as outcome pressure or monitoring pressure, have less been investigated. The present study aimed to investigate the performance and decision making of a complex skill and their link with reinvestment (a type of self-focus behavior) under different conditions of pressure using a table tennis task. The topspin forehand and backhand shots of 20 expert table tennis athletes were examined under low, monitoring, and outcome pressure conditions in a within-group design. In addition, predictive validities of Decision-Specific Reinvestment Scale (DSRS) and Movement-Specific Reinvestment Scale (MSRS) with the changes of performance and decision making from low- to high-pressure conditions as dependent variables were examined. The repeated measures ANOVA results showed that the effects of pressure conditions on anxiety were significant. Decision accuracy under outcome pressure and decision speed under monitoring and outcome pressure conditions were decreased. The performance of athletes was decreased under monitoring pressure while no changes was observed in their performance under outcome pressure. Decision Reinvestment (a factor of DSRS) could predict decision speed changes under both pressure conditions, while Movement Self-Consciousness (a factor of MSRS) could predict performance changes only under monitoring pressure. Our Findings highlight that the subscales of MSRS and DSRS were activated independently and a competitive pressure situation has different effects on the cognitive and motor aspects of complex skills. It is suggested that expert athletes and coaches consider separate pressure conditions and their relationships with the ongoing task.
Article
Every athlete has to achieve permanent victories on the «domestic front» of coping with difficulties and self-overcoming if he or she wants to win the sport competitions regularly. Extreme muscle loading, excitement, anxiety, and stress become a habitual routine for many athletes. It is an important applied goal of sport psychology to transfer their skills to other people who need them, for example to workers who perform under pressure or different people who set goals and have to achieve them. Current paper is devoted to research what ways and resources are selected by professional athletes of different sports and ages to cope successfully with stress and negative emotions. We consider what is the difference between coping with stress and maintaining the equanimity. It describes the variety of methods and strategies that can improve the efficiency of the athlete’s performance make him or her more resistant and «tough». Also the problem of experience is solved: how athletes learn to cope with difficulties, how they choose the best way to behave, which resources reinforce them.
Thesis
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Historically, mind studies have been separated from those carried out on the brain and behavior; the mind was still an abstract concept. However, later on, neurosciences and sports psychology have gone further and created a new discipline: sports neurosciences, aimed at exploring the physical and mental confines of an athlete and make them grow more and more. Neurosciences can, therefore, help bring closer psychological and biological areas, cognitive and mechanical structures. Several researches have been done on activation in situations under pressure, imagery (in hypnosis) and electroencephalogram (EEG); however, there is an obvious lack of studies that analyze how to monitor mental training on activation in situations under pressure by means of EEG, both in the office and on the field. Consequently, the objective of the present thesis is to monitor mental training on activation during a neutral situation and in a situation under pressure, by analyzing the heart rate, brainwaves and subjective registrations in athletes with and without previous imagery experience. The pilot test analyzed the heart rate behavior in the activation of 7 athletes during imagery of under-pressure situations. In it, there was an increase in the heart rate in the situations under pressure, which was experienced, mainly, at the moment of highest pressure. From Study 1-A and 1-B neutral situation imagery (tennis service) was compared with imagery of under-pressure situations on 16 tennis players. On the one hand, in Study 1-A the activation during imagery of a neutral situation was monitored through the analysis of the heart rate, brainwaves and subjective registrations of tennis players with and without prior experience in imagery; on the other hand, in Study 1-B activation during imagery was also monitored, although this time in a situation under pressure (tennis match). Results show that imageries from both neutral and under-pressure situations increased the heart rate, especially on those subjects with imagery experience; being this increase higher in the case of imagery of situations under pressure and finding its highest point at the moment of maximum pressure of the imagery: interval 5-6. Regarding brainwaves, imagery of both neutral and under-pressure situations (either by intervals, hemispheres, zones or channels) led to a decrease in the gamma wave activity, both in tennis players with previous experience in imagery and without. In the case of Study 1- B, an increase of the gamma wave was also observed in interval 5-6, which corresponds to the moment of maximum pressure. Regarding entropy, in Study 1-A it was lower in the neutral situation imagery, both in those with imagery experience and without; while in Study 1-B, the approximate and sample entropies were higher in the imagery of the situation under pressure in those without imagery experience. With regards to the subjective registrations, in psychological abilities (activation, self-confidence, motivation and concentration) of Studies 1-A and 1-B there were no significant differences between pre and post neither between before, during and after, except in Study 1-B between pre and post for the activation at during with a significance level of 10%. Regarding the reality of imagery, in Study 1-A the most real dimensions, from highest to lowest, were kinesthetic, visual, emotional, tactile and auditory (score from 3 to 5). Those that were more difficult to be perceived as real and to be aware of were the gustatory and olfactory ones in Study 1-A and only the olfactory in 1-B. In Studies 2-A and 2-B mental training on activation during imagery of an under-pressure situation was monitored through a protocol with and without mental training carried out in the office (Study 2-A) and on the court (Study 2-B) based on the analysis of the heart rate, brainwaves and subjective registrations in a tennis player with high imagery experience in order to be able to see how activation developed, session by session, through the mental training carried out. Results show that both in the office (Study 2-A) and on the court (Study 2-B) the tennis player’s heart rate increased in the imagery of the situation under pressure (I.3-8), being higher in the office and in Protocol 2. It decreased in the mental techniques application imagery (I.8-13) in Protocol 2, being also greater in the office; it decreased further in the final breathing attention (I.13-f), being higher in the office and in Protocol 1. In the case of brainwaves, the beta wave increased in the imagery of the situation under pressure (I.3-8), both in the office and on the court, being higher in the office in Protocol 1 and on the court in Protocol 2. Also, gamma, theta and delta waves increased in Protocol 2 on the court. Beta, gamma, delta and theta waves decreased in the mental techniques application imagery (I.8-13), both in the office and on the court, being higher on the court, except for the gamma wave, which was higher in the office. Alpha and beta waves increased in the final breathing attention (I.13-f), both in the office and on the court, being higher in the office in Protocol 2. Regarding entropy (approximate entropy and sample), it decreased in the imagery of the situation under pressure (I.3-8), both in the office and on the court and both in Protocol 1 and 2, being higher on the court and in Protocol 2. It increased in the mental techniques application imagery (I.8-13) in the office as well as on the court, being higher on the court. It also increased in the final breathing attention (I.13-f), both in the office and on the court, being higher in the office in both protocols but markedly in Protocol 2. Regarding subjective registrations, the tennis player managed to feel the pressure in the imagery of the situation under pressure both in the office and on the court before, during and after between points (highest pressure moment), being higher in Protocol 2. In the mental techniques application imagery he regulated the activation to feel it at an optimal level (7), although he found it more difficult on the court. All imageries were realized with great reality in all dimensions (visual, auditory, olfactory, tactile, gustatory, kinesthetic and emotional), being the olfactory dimension more difficult to feel in the situation under pressure in the office for both Protocols, and on the court in Protocol 2, and the gustatory one on the court and in Protocol 2. Unexpectedly, it was also more difficult to feel the auditory one in the office in Protocol 1. In the mental techniques application imagery, the gustatory dimension was more difficult to feel both in the office (Study 2-A) and on the court (Study 2-B) and also, unexpectedly, the auditory one on the court. Therefore, the thesis results reflect the importance of monitoring the mental training of activation in situations under pressure; data of great use to improve neutral and under- pressure imagery and mental training in order to help athletes work on their activation. It is also useful to create neurofeedback protocols to increase the ability to perform imagery in athletes with both high and low experience and thus improve their mental training and self-awareness of under-pressure situations in their lives, what causes them, how they experience them and what they must do to deal with them.
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Although the unwanted intrusive thoughts (UITs) exist widely in human beings and show similar characteristics between clinical and nonclinical forms, its control process remains unclear. Thoughts of choking under pressure, particularly among high-achieving athletes, represent a meaningful UIT type due to their psychological and performance-related impact. Taking a dynamic view of UIT control process, this study tested the effect of thought-control strategies among sub-elite to elite athletes, applied to individualized choking thoughts. Ninety athletes recollected recent athletic choking experiences prior to being randomized into one of three thought control interventions using strategies of either acceptance, passive monitoring (control), or suppression. To control for individual differences, athletes’ working memory capacity was measured and modeled as a covariate at baseline. The activation of choking thoughts during and after the intervention was gauged through multiple measurement approaches including conscious presence in mind, priming, and event-related potentials (P3b and N400 amplitudes). Results indicated that, relative to the control, suppression led to enhanced priming and reduced conscious presence of choking thoughts, whereas acceptance resulted in an opposite pattern of reduced priming and increased conscious presence of choking thoughts. In addition, thought-related stimuli elicited less negative-going N400 amplitudes and more positive-going P3b amplitudes than control stimuli. These findings advance understandings of the control mechanism underpinning UITs, and generate applied implications regarding UIT control in high-risk populations such as those with athletic expertise.
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Performance/Art explores the phenomenology of skilled performance, ranging from athletics to the performing arts, including musical performance, dance and acting. Gallagher reviews a variety of studies concerning different degrees of mindful awareness operative in performance, and builds on the model of meshed architecture, suggesting ways to make it more complex and dynamic. He draws on ideas from enactivist embodied cognition and also explicates the notion of an empathic mindfulness in performance. He develops the concept of a double attunement to explain aesthetic experience in performance.
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Individuals with high math anxiety demonstrated smaller working memory spans, especially when assessed with a computation-based span task. This reduced working memory capacity led to a pronounced increase in reaction time and errors when mental addition was performed concurrently with a memory load task. The effects of the reduction also generalized to a working memory-intensive transformation task. Overall, the results demonstrated that an individual difference variable, math anxiety, affects on-line performance in math-related tasks and that this effect is a transitory disruption of working memory. The authors consider a possible mechanism underlying this effect - disruption of central executive processes - and suggest that individual difference variables like math anxiety deserve greater empirical attention, especially on assessments of working memory capacity and functioning.
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The purposes of the present investigation were to examine the coping responses of different subgroups of athletes (e.g., high and low trait anxious athletes), and to assess the consistency of athlete's coping behaviors across situations. Two-hundred and seventy-three athletes completed the Sport Anxiety Scale (SAS) by Smith, Smoll, & Schutz (1990) and coping assessments in trait and state versions of the sport adapted COPE (MCOPE) by Crocker and Graham (1995). The state coping measures assessed coping responses of situations for which the athletes actually experienced. The results of three separate, doubly multivariate, repeated measures, MANOVA's showed that high trait anxious athletes responded to stressful situations using different coping behaviors (e.g., denial, wishful thinking, and self-blame) than the low trait anxious athletes. In addition, coping appears to be more stable than situationally variable as Pearson correlational coefficients computed between the three measures ranged from 0.53 to 0.80. The results are discussed with regard to theoretical, research, and applied issues.
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This article discusses the acquisition of knowledge about environmental regulatory features that guide the selection and execution of movements involved in performing open motor skills. First, empirical evidence related to the visual search characteristics of skilled and novice performers is considered to demonstrate that learning environmental regulatory features is an important part of performing an open motor skill. Then, the hypothesis is proposed and discussed that environmental regulatory features can, and probably should, be learned implicitly, which means the features can be learned and used, even though the learner is not consciously aware of the specific characteristics of those features. This article also discusses laboratory-based experiments that provide evidence supporting this hypothesis and presents implications for developing instructional strategies and practice conditions.
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Previous research indicates the viability of a distinction between cognitive and somatic components of the anxiety response, and multidimensional anxiety scales have proven useful in relating cognitive and somatic anxiety to behavioral outcomes. This article describes the development and validation of a sport-specific measure of cognitive and somatic trait anxiety. The Sport Anxiety Scale measures individual differences in Somatic Anxiety and in two classes of cognitive anxiety, Worry and Concentration Disruption. Both exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses supported these dimensions in several different athlete samples. Psychometric properties of the Sport Anxiety Scale are described, as are its relations with other psychological measures and with precompetition affective state measures. In the last of the four studies reported, scores on the Concentration Disruption scale were negatively related to the performance of college football players over the course of a season. The studies suggest that the Sport Anxiety Scale may be useful in defining sport-related anxiety more sharply and assessing how the cognitive and somatic anxiety components relate to performance and other outcome measures in sport.
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Attentional processes governing skilled motor behavior were examined in two studies. In Experiment 1, fi eld hockey players performed a dribbling task under single-task, dual-task, and skill-focused conditions under both low and high pressure situations. In Experiment 2, skilled soccer players performed a dribbling task under single-task, skill-focused, and process-goal conditions, again under low and high pressure situations. Results replicated recent fi ndings regarding the detrimental effect of skill-focused attention and the facilitative effect of dual-task conditions on skilled performance. In addition, focusing on movement related process goals was found to adversely affect performance. Support for the predictive validity of the Reinvestment Scale was also found, with high reinvesters displaying greater susceptibility to skill failure under pressure. Results were consistent with explicit monitoring theories of choking and are further discussed in light of the conceptual distinction between explicit monitoring and reinvestment of conscious control.
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Two central constructs of applied psychology, motivation and cognitive ability, were integrated within an information-processing (IPR) framework. This framework simultaneously considers individual differences in cognitive abilities, self-regulatory processes of motivation, and IPR demands. Evidence for the framework is provided in the context of skill acquisition, in which IPR and ability demands change as a function of practice, training paradigm, and timing of goal setting (GS). Three field-based lab experiments were conducted with 1,010 US Air Force trainees. Exp 1 evaluated the basic ability–performance parameters of the air traffic controller task and GS effects early in practice. Exp 2 evaluated GS later in practice. Exp 3 investigated the simultaneous effects of training content, GS and ability–performance interactions. Results support the theoretical framework and have implications for notions of ability–motivation interactions and design of training and motivation programs. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Predicted, on the basis of recent research on self-presentation and self-attention, that the presence of supportive audiences might be detrimental to performance in some circumstances. Specifically, the imminent opportunity to claim a desired identity in front of a supportive audience might engender a state of self-attention that could interfere with the execution of skillful responses. Archival data from championship series in 2 major league sports supported this reasoning. It was found that in baseball's World Series, home teams tend to win early games but lose decisive (final) games. Supplementary analyses suggested that the pattern occurs when the home team has the opportunity to win the championship and that it does involve performance decrements by the home team. Similar patterns were found in semifinal and championship series in professional basketball. (30 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Examined the effect of spectator presence on gymnastic performance in 3 experiments with a total of 64 undergraduates in introductory and advanced gymnastic classes. It was found that spectator presence led to a significant decrement in quality of gymnastic performance when Ss were given a forewarning about the presence of the spectators but had no overall effect when Ss were not forewarned. This finding provides support for the anticipated evaluation modification of R. B. Zajonc's 1965 hypothesis of audience effects. The relationship between the initial level of skill of the Ss and the change in their performance during spectator presence suggests the need for additional modification of Zajonc's position. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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This paper examines Hardy's (1990, 1996a) proposition that self-confidence might act as the bias factor in a butterfly catastrophe model of stress and performance. Male golfers (N = 8) participated in a golf tournament and reported their cognitive anxiety, somatic anxiety, and self-confidence prior to their tee shot on each hole. All anxiety, self-confidence, and performance scores were standardized within participants in order to control for individual differences. The data were then collapsed across participants and categorized into a high self-confidence condition and a low self-confidence condition by means of a median split. A series of two-way (Cognitive Anxiety × Somatic Anxiety) ANOVAs was conducted on each self-confidence condition in order to flag where the maximum Cognitive Anxiety × Somatic Anxiety interaction effect size lay along the somatic anxiety axis. These ANOVAs revealed that the maximum interaction effect size between cognitive and somatic anxiety was at a higher level of somatic anxiety for the high self-confidence condition than for the low self-confidence condition, thus supporting the moderating role of self-confidence in a catastrophe model framework. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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R. F. Baumeister and A. Steinhilber's (see record 1984-31312-001) provocative, widely accepted analysis proposed that professional sports teams play unusually badly (choke) under the pressure created by their home fans and perform poorly in decisive home games of championship series. However, a reanalysis of the data, including the results of recent championships in baseball and basketball, finds no evidence of a home-field championship choke. The home field is an advantage, and the home team wins about as often late as early in championship series. Teams show an ability to triumph over pressure in asymmetrical "must-win" situations late in championship series. When choking occurs, it is associated with the anticipation of an important failure, not the distractions of possible success as suggested by Baumeister and Steinhilber. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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The purpose of this study was to examine the central tenets of the Processing Efficiency Theory (PET) in the context of a dual-task auto racing simulation. Participants were placed into either high or low trait-anxiety groups and required to concurrently undertake a driving task while responding to one of four target LEDs upon presentation of either a valid or an invalid cue located in the central or peripheral visual field. Eye movements and dual-task performance were recorded under baseline and competition conditions. Anxiety was induced by an instructional set delivered prior to the competition condition. Findings indicated that while there was little change in driving performance from baseline to competition, response time was reduced for the low-anxious group but increased for the high-anxious group during the competitive session. Additionally there was an increase in search rate for both groups during the competitive session, indicating a reduction in processing efficiency. Implications of this study include a more comprehensive and mechanistic account of the PET and confirm that increases in cognitive anxiety may result in a reduction of processing efficiency, with little change in performance effectiveness. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Reviews evidence which suggests that there may be little or no direct introspective access to higher order cognitive processes. Ss are sometimes (a) unaware of the existence of a stimulus that importantly influenced a response, (b) unaware of the existence of the response, and (c) unaware that the stimulus has affected the response. It is proposed that when people attempt to report on their cognitive processes, that is, on the processes mediating the effects of a stimulus on a response, they do not do so on the basis of any true introspection. Instead, their reports are based on a priori, implicit causal theories, or judgments about the extent to which a particular stimulus is a plausible cause of a given response. This suggests that though people may not be able to observe directly their cognitive processes, they will sometimes be able to report accurately about them. Accurate reports will occur when influential stimuli are salient and are plausible causes of the responses they produce, and will not occur when stimuli are not salient or are not plausible causes. (86 ref)
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We present a strictly operational approach — in which theoretical tools and experimental data are developed together — to the problem of understanding the coordination of movement patterns. The empirical aspects are guided by synergetics, a theory of spontaneous pattern formation in open systems. Following an outline of our theoretical strategy, recent experimental results are reviewed that demonstrate the validity of the approach. From these studies, it is possible to establish the linkage between order-order transitions in movement behavior and other nonequilibrium phase transitions in nature. Behavioral patterns (corresponding to low-dimensional attractors for collective variables) and their dynamics are shown to arise in a purely self-organized fashion from cooperative coupling among individual components. This step has been implemented analytically and computationally. The insights gained from the present research allow a generalization in the form of seven theoretical propositions that aim at characterizing pattern formation, stability and change in complex, biological systems. In turn, a number of new research directions emerge, including studies of the collective dynamics of the environment-movement system, learning, and multiple-limb coordination.
Article
Evidence is reviewed which suggests that there may be little or no direct introspective access to higher order cognitive processes. Subjects are sometimes (a) unaware of the existence of a stimulus that importantly influenced a response, (b) unaware of the existence of the response, and (c) unaware that the stimulus has affected the response. It is proposed that when people attempt to report on their cognitive processes, that is, on the processes mediating the effects of a stimulus on a response, they do not do so on the basis of any true introspection. Instead, their reports are based on a priori, implicit causal theories, or judgments about the extent to which a particular stimulus is a plausible cause of a given response. This suggests that though people may not be able to observe directly their cognitive processes, they will sometimes be able to report accurately about them. Accurate reports will occur when influential stimuli are salient and are plausible causes of the responses they produce, and will not occur when stimuli are not salient or are not plausible causes.
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Stereotype threat occurs when knowledge of a negative stereotype about a social group leads to less-than-optimal performance by members of that group. Although the stereotype threat phenomenon has been extensively studied in academic and cognitively-based tasks, it has received little attention in sport. This article reviews the existent literature on stereotype threat and discusses its implications for sports performance. The causal mechanisms of stereotype threat in sport are examined, followed by a discussion of why the cognitive processes thought to govern negative stereotype-induced performance decrements in academic and cognitively based tasks (e.g., GRE or SAT tests) may not unequivocally extend to sport skills. Finally, factors that should moderate the impact of stereotype threat in sport are outlined. Because stereotype threat has important consequences for athletics (e.g., impairing athletic performance, maintaining the underrepresentation of minority athletes in certain sports), it is a phenomenon that deserves greater attention in sport and exercise psychology research.
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The current paper criticizes the concept, research methodology, data analyses, and validity of the conclusions made in Hardy, Woodman, and Carrington's (2004) article published in this journal. In their repeated-measures analysis of data from the performances of 7 golfers, they did not examine changes in performance scores on successive holes. Instead, Hardy et al. used several ANOVA models to examine how performance varied with respect to somatic and cognitive anxiety level and self-confidence interaction. By doing so, their findings produced effects which we argue to be conceptually and empirically limited. We also address problems associated with dichotomization of continuous variables, measurement errors when splitting data, eradication of random significant effects, cell sizes in segmental quadrant analysis, and correlation between somatic and cognitive anxiety. We believe these difficulties prevent any reliable conclusions and/or generalizations from being made.
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Acquiring a skill in an implicit manner is thought to have a number of advantages over acquiring the same skill explicitly. In particular, implicitly learnt skills have been shown to be more durable over time and more robust to the influence of psychological stress. Implicit motor skill learning has been demonstrated on several occasions using a concurrent secondary task to curb explicit rule formation. On each occasion the benefits of learning the skill implicitly have been robustness under psychological stress, with the learners less likely to exhibit skill breakdown. The secondary task employed to curb explicit rule formation has been one that loads on the central executive component of working memory. The primary difficulty with the use of this task has been a consequent decrement in performance as a result of the attentional demands of the central executive task intruding upon execution of the motor skill. This paper examines whether less intrusive, non-central executive, phonological loop secondary tasks prevent explicit knowledge formation whilst not impacting adversely upon performance of the primary skill. Two experiments were performed, the results of which demonstrate that phonological loop tasks do not prevent explicit knowledge acquisition. This suggests that the phonological loop is not an essential component in the development of explicit knowledge regarding a motor task. The problem of finding a secondary task to block explicit knowledge formation whilst not interfering with motor performance remains.
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A study involving 775 professional golfers investigated whether choking occurs in the PGA Tour's Qualifying Tournaments, known among golfers for its high pressure. It was hypothesized that players who were near or at the cutoff for earning a tour card would have higher final round scores than players whose scores entering the final round were either four or five strokes better or worse. However, the data did not support a choking hypothesis. There were no significant differences in final round scores for the conditions.
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A study involving results of the PGA Tour, Senior PGA Tour, and the LPGA Tour investigated whether "choking under pressure" occurs among professional golfers. Players were individuals who either were leading going into the final round or within five strokes of the lead. It was hypothesized that players who were one stroke from the lead and to a lesser extent players who were leading should have higher final round scores than those players who were two or more strokes from the lead ("choking"). However, the results did not support the choking hypothesis. Players who were leading going into the final round won the majority of the time.
Article
Using a dual-task paradigm, it has been shown that it is possible to acquire motor skills in an implicit manner, whereby performers have little explicit knowledge of the underlying rule structures governing the mechanics of their movements. Motor skills learned in this way appear to benefit from some of the advantages attributed to implicit mechanisms; particularly, resilience to skill failure under stress. They also, however, suffer disadvantages associated with the inhibitory effects of secondary tasks on learning. After a brief overview of the implicit learning literature this paper describes some of the recent studies which have established implicit learning in the motor domain and discusses current developments in the search for more sophisticated implicit learning techniques which avoid the disadvantages associated with dual-task learning techniques and which are both theoretically valid and ecologically viable.
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A solution is suggested for an old unresolved social psychological problem.
Article
A study involving results of the PGA Tour, Senior PGA Tour, and the LPGA Tour investigated whether "choking under pressure" occurs among professional golfers. Players were individuals who either were leading going into the final round or within five strokes of the lead. It was hypothesized that players who were one stroke from the lead and to a lesser extent players who were leading should have higher final round scores than those players who were two or more strokes from the lead ("choking"). However, the results did not support the choking hypothesis. Players who were leading going into the final round won the majority of the time.
Article
Objectives: Two experiments were conducted to investigate manifestations of anxiety at the subjective, physiological, and behavioural level of analysis.Design: In Experiment 1 we investigated the manifestations of state anxiety at the first two levels by comparing low- and high-anxiety conditions during climbing. In Experiment 2 we explored behavioural differences under these conditions.Methods: We manipulated anxiety by using a climbing wall with routes defined at different heights (low and high). Participants were 13 and 17 novice climbers in Experiments 1 and 2, respectively (ages 19–30 years). We measured self-reported state anxiety, heart rate (Experiments 1 and 2), blood lactate concentration and muscle fatigue (Experiment 1), and climbing time and fluency of movements (Experiment 2).Results: At the level of subjective experience we found that when novices climbed a route high on a climbing wall they reported significantly more anxiety than when they traversed an identical route low on the climbing wall. At the physiological level, they exhibited significantly higher heart rates, more muscle fatigue, and higher blood lactate concentrations. The results of Experiment 2 showed that state anxiety also affected participants’ movement behaviour, which was evidenced by an increased geometric index of entropy and by longer climbing times.Conclusions: Results indicated that anxiety indeed manifested itself at three levels. A possible explanation for the effects of anxiety that is also found in the literature is that a temporary regress may occur to a movement execution that is associated with earlier stages of motor learning.
Article
The definition of the ‘yips’ has evolved over time. It is defined as a motor phenomenon of involuntary movements affecting golfers. In this paper, we have extended the definition to encompass a continuum from the neurologic disorder of dystonia to the psychologic disorder of choking. In many golfers, the pathophysiology of the ‘yips’ is believed to be an acquired deterioration in the function of motor pathways (e.g. those involving the basal ganglia) which are exacerbated when a threshold of high stress and physiologic arousal is exceeded. In other golfers, the ‘yips’ seems to result from severe performance anxiety. Physically, the ‘yips’ is manifested by symptoms of jerks, tremors or freezing in the hands and forearms. These symptoms can result in: (i) a poor quality of golf performance (adds 4.9 strokes per 18 holes); (ii) prompt use of alcohol and β-blockers; and (iii) contribute to attrition in golf. Golfers with the ‘yips’ average 75 rounds per year, although many ‘yips’-affected golfers decrease their playing time or quit to avoid exposure to this embarrassing problem. While more investigation is needed to determine the cause of the ‘yips’, this review article summarises and organises the available research. A small study included in this paper describes the ‘yips’ phenomenon from the subjective experience of ‘yips’-affected golfers. The subjective experience (n = 72) provides preliminary support for the hypothesis suggesting that the ‘yips’ is on a continuum. Based on the subjective definitions of 72 ‘yips’-affected golfers, the ‘yips’ was differentiated into type I (dystonia) and type II (choking). A theoretical model provides a guide for future research on golfers with either type I or type II ‘yips’.
Article
When pressure to perform is increased, individuals commonly perform worse than if there were no pressure ("choking under pressure'). Two mechanisms have been proposed to account for this effect-distraction (cognitive load), wherein pressure distracts attention from the task, and self focus, wherein attention shifts inward interfering with performance. To distinguish between these two competing explanations, the current experiment manipulated pressure by offering performance-contingent rewards. For half the participants, cognitive load was increased by requiring participants to count backward from 100. Additionally, adaptation to self awareness was manipulated by videotaping half the participants during practice trials. Results show that pressure caused choking when participants were not distracted and had not been adapted to self awareness. This effect was attenuated when cognitive load was increased or when self-awareness adaptation had occurred. These results support self focus mediated misregulation as the mechanism for choking and disconfirm the distraction hypothesis.
Article
Four studies examined relationships between self-handicapping tendencies and reactions to two different yet potentially stressful sport situations (i.e., dealing with a performance slump and emotional reaction prior to competition). In studies 1 and 2, participants were 65 male athletes (mean age=20.45) and 141 male and female athletes (mean age=21.5), respectively. Participants in study 1 completed the Self-handicapping Scale (SHS) and slump-related coping was assessed using the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS). Participants in study 2 completed the SHS and slump-related coping was assessed using the modified Ways of Coping in Sport Scale (WCSS). For studies 3 and 4, participants were 220 male athletes (mean age=22.60) and 120 male and female athletes (mean age=34.75), respectively. Participants from both studies completed the SHS and emotions prior to competition were assessed using the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory (CSAI-2). Findings from study 1 showed that self-handicapping tendencies were related to emotive-oriented coping. CISS emotion scale scores accounted for 25% of the variance in SHS scores. Data from study 2 showed that self-handicapping tendencies were related to denial/avoidance and wishful thinking subscale scores of the WCSS. Together these two variables accounted for 11% of the variance in SHS scores. Data from studies 3 and 4 showed positive relations between self-handicapping tendencies and cognitive state-anxiety. Cognitive state-anxiety accounted for 8% of the variance in SHS scores in study 3 and 12% of the variance in SHS scores in study 4.
Article
This study examined video game performance under audience scrutiny to see if social facilitation or choking effects would be obtained. Social facilitation theory suggests that good players would do better and poor players would do worse under audience pressure and that all players would do better on a simple or maximizing game and worse on a complex or optimizing game under audience pressure. Choking research indicates that audience pressure would produce poorer performance on both games. College student players played either a simple game, Pinball, or a complex game, Tetris, unobserved and then as the experimenter watched. Results showed that good players performed worse and bad players played better on the simple game under audience pressure. All participants played worse under audience pressure on the complex game. The choking approach accounts for these results better than social facilitation theory does.
Article
Two experiments showed that framing an athletic task as diagnostic of negative racial stereotypes about Black or White athletes can impede their performance in sports. In Experiment 1, Black participants performed significantly worse than did control participants when performance on a golf task was framed as diagnostic of "sports intelligence." In comparison, White participants performed worse than did control participants when the golf task was framed as diagnostic of 'natural athletic ability." Experiment 2 observed the effect of stereotype threat on the athletic performance of White participants for whom performance in sports represented a significant measure of their self-worth. The implications of the findings for the theory of stereotype threat (C. M. Steele, 1997) and for participation in sports are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
given the number of conceptual and methodological changes proposed in the arousal–performance relationship area, a need exists to provide an in-depth examination of the current status of research on the topic / the intent of this chapter is to provide such an examination / examine conceptual systems for providing future research directions, identify central research issues, and recognize methodological refinements and needs the relationship among anxiety, stress, arousal, and related terms will be discussed / arousal–performance relationship hypotheses and theories will be examined and discussed, including drive theory, the inverted-U hypothesis, Hanin's (1989) optimal zones of arousal hypothesis, multidimensional anxiety theory, Hardy and Fazey's (1987) application of catastrophe theory, and Kerr's (1985, 1987) reversal theory interpretation (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
J. A. Fazey and L. Hardy's (1988) cusp catastrophe model of anxiety and performance has been criticized for being overly complex and difficult to test. Hardy attempts to clarify the model for researchers who are less familiar with its more subtle nuances. Hardy then differentiates between the characteristics of cusp catastrophe models in general and the specific predictions of Fazey and Hardy's cusp catastrophe model of anxiety and performance. For each prediction, methodological and statistical procedures are suggested whereby the prediction can be tested, and the available evidence that has used these procedures is then briefly reviewed. Practical implications for sport psychology are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Describes the development of a scale to assess individual differences in self-consciousness. Construction of the scale involved testing the 38 initial items with 130 female and 82 male undergraduates. A principal components factor analysis of the data yielded 3 factors accounting for 43% of the variance: Private Self-Consciousness, Public Self-Consciousness, and Social Anxiety. The final version of the scale, which contained 23 items, was administered to several groups of undergraduates (N = 668) to obtain norms, test-retest (2 wks), subscale correlation, and reliability data. Test-retest reliabilities were .84 for the Public Self-Consciousness scale, .79 for the Private Self-Consciousness scale, .73 for the Social Anxiety scale, and .80 for the total score. Public Self-Consciousness correlated moderately with both Private Self-Consciousness and Social Anxiety, while the correlation of Private Self-Consciousness with Social Anxiety fluctuated around zero. No sex differences in scores were observed. Implications for research and therapy are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Examined whether talking about choking had an effect on the performance of a motor task in 80 male physical education undergraduates. Using the Solomon-Four design, the dependent variable was the number of successful basketball free throws out of 25 attempts. An analysis of variance (ANOVA) indicated that talking about the choke was largely responsible for its occurrence. (French, Spanish, German & Italian abstracts) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Building on the identified need for examination of anxiety effects 'in-event', the present studies used movement kinematics to evaluate changes in movement patterns which were associated with changes in anxiety levels. In Study I, 16 trained soldiers (mean age 22.1 yrs) completed a stepping task at ground level and at height (20 meters). In Study II, elite Olympic weightlifters (mean age 22.1 yrs) performed the snatch lift under training and competitive conditions. Cross conjugate correlation functions demonstrated changes in movement patterns; soldiers were liable to a more consistent but individually different action when anxious while lifters appeared to use a consciously mediated change in strategy as a result of competitive pressure. Results appear to offer a mechanism through which anxiety may act to affect performance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Book
By pulling together research from a variety of relatively distinct research areas, "Skill Acquisition and Human Performance" provides a coherent picture of our current understanding of human skill and the status of skills research. Taking an information-processing approach, the authors begin with a historical and conceptual introduction to the field and introduce the readers to research studies in which comparatively simple laboratory tasks are used to investigate skill. Next, they consider skilled performance of more complex tasks that impose greater demands on attentional and memorial resources and examine expertise in specific real-world domains. A discussion of more directly applied relevance follows, including training, the role of individual differences in abilities, and situational performance-shaping factors. The authors also explore the critical role that computational models play in contemporary research. Throughout, the close relation between theories and data is stressed, and the use of formalized models to aid in understanding the underlying nature of skill is highlighted. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Failure of expert motor skill is common in cases where performers are highly motivated to succeed. One cause of this can be an inward focus of attention in which an attempt is made to perform the skill by consciously processing explicit knowledge of how it works. The resulting disruption of the automaticity of the skill leads to its failure. It follows from this that disruption of automatic processing will be avoided if performers have little or no explicit knowledge of their skill. Subjects in the reported experiment were required to acquire a golf-putting skill, either explicitly (with knowledge of rules) or implicitly (without knowledge of rules) and were then tested under conditions of stress, induced by a combination of evaluation apprehension and financial inducement. Evidence was found to support the hypothesis that the skill of performers with a small pool of explicit knowledge is less likely to fail under pressure than that of performers with a large pool of explicit knowledge.
Article
Paradoxical performance effects (‘choking under pressure’) are defined as the occurrence of inferior performance despite striving and incentives for superior performance. Experimental demonstrations of these effects on tasks analogous to athletic performance and the theories that may explain them are reviewed. At present, attentional theories seem to offer the most complete explanation of the processes underlying paradoxical performance effects. In particular, choking may result from distraction or from the interference of self-focused attention with the execution of automatic responses. Experimental findings of paradoxical performance decrements are associated with four pressure variables: audience presence, competition, performance-contingent rewards and punishments, and ego relevance of the task. The mediating factors of task complexity, expectancies, and individual differences are discussed.
Article
This study reports an empirical investigation into Bernstein's (1967) ideas that in the early stages of the acquisition of a movement skill the coordination problem is reduced by an initial freezing out of degrees of freedom, followed later in the learning process by the release of these degrees of freedom and their incorporation into a dynamic, controllable system. “Freezing” degrees of freedom was made operational both as a rigid fixation of individual degrees of freedom and as the formation of rigid couplings between multiple degrees of freedom. Five subjects practiced slalom-like ski movements on a ski apparatus for 7 consecutive days. Results showed that at the early phases of learning, the joint angles of the lower limbs and torso displayed little movement, as expressed by their standard deviations and ranges of angular motion, whereas joint couplings were high, as shown by the relatively high cross correlations between joint angles. Over practice, angular movement significantly increased in all joint angles of the lower limbs and torso, although the cross correlations decreased. Support for the processes of freezing and releasing degrees of freedom was thus given at both levels of operationalization. In addition, a consistent change from laterally symmetric to laterally asymmetric cross-correlation patterns were observed as a function of practice. Overall, the findings provide empirical support for Bernstein's ideas regarding the mastery of redundant degrees of freedom in the acquisition of coordination.
Article
Background and purpose. To overview research and theories on the impact of social facilitation for persons performing motor tasks.Methods. A narrative review is adopted. The origins of the research tradition are presented and the different theoretical explanations are reviewed.Results and conclusions. It is noted that these explanations claim validity for both the cognitive and motor domains. Results of research are reported on the impact of the presence of others while working on different kinds of motor tasks such as coordination tasks, power and stamina tasks, and a mixture of these. These empirical findings are often in contradiction to the presented theoretical models. The paper discusses whether results of different kinds of motor tasks need different theoretical explanations. It is concluded that if any effects of the mere presence of others are to be found at all, they tend to be weak.
Article
This study reports on the construction and preliminary validation of a scale for measuring emotional control, which has been developed in the context of research on stress. Factor analysis of the initial item pool uncovered a 40-item, four-factor structure which was replicated in an independent sample of subjects. The four factors, entitled Rehearsal, Emotional Inhibition, Aggression Control and Benign Control, were all internally consistent and stable over time. Preliminary concurrent validation of the final form of the scale, entitled the Emotion Control Questionnaire (ECQ), showed that the factors were related in meaningful ways to other relevant indices of personality. The study concludes with suggestions for research applications using the ECQ.
Article
A new theoretical framework for work on anxiety and memory is proposed. Anxious subjects engage in task-irrelevant processing which preempts processing resources and some of the available capacity of working memory. They typically attempt to compensate for the adverse effects of this task-irrelevent processing on task performance by increased effort. It follows from these theoretical assumptions that anxiety will have differential effects on performance efficiency (i.e., the quality of performance) and on processing effectiveness (i.e., performance efficiency/effort). Anxiety will always reduce processing effectiveness, but will not impair performance efficiency if there is sufficient effort expenditure. Consequently, reliance on measures of performance efficiency will often obscure the detrimental effects of anxiety on processing effectiveness.