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This article presents a systematic review of the literature examining the relationship between self-talk and performance. "Second-generation questions" regarding potential mediators and moderators of the self-talk-performance relationship were also examined. A total of 47 studies were analyzed. Results indicated beneficial effects of positive, instructional, and motivational self-talk for performance. Somewhat surprisingly, two evidence-based challenges to popular current viewpoints on self-talk emerged. First, negative self-talk did not impede performance. Second, there was inconsistent evidence for the differential effects of instructional and motivational self-talk based on task characteristics. Results from the mediation-based analysis indicate that cognitive and behavioral factors had the most consistent relationships with self-talk. The findings are discussed in the context of recent theoretical advances, and the article includes recommendations for future research (e.g., the use of designs allowing the testing of meditational hypotheses) and for current applied practice (e.g., avoiding the use of thought-stopping techniques).
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Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 2011, 33, 666-687
© 2011 Human Kinetics, Inc.
David Tod and Emily Oliver are with Sport and Exercise Science, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth,
Ceredigion, United Kingdom. James Hardy is with the Institute for Psychology of Elite Performance,
Bangor University, Bangor, United Kingdom.
Effects of Self-Talk: A Systematic Review
David Tod,1 James Hardy,2 and Emily Oliver1
1Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth; 2Bangor University
This article presents a systematic review of the literature examining the relation-
ship between self-talk and performance. “Second-generation questions” regarding
potential mediators and moderators of the self-talk–performance relationship were
also examined. A total of 47 studies were analyzed. Results indicated benecial
effects of positive, instructional, and motivational self-talk for performance. Some-
what surprisingly, two evidence-based challenges to popular current viewpoints on
self-talk emerged. First, negative self-talk did not impede performance. Second,
there was inconsistent evidence for the differential effects of instructional and
motivational self-talk based on task characteristics. Results from the mediation-
based analysis indicate that cognitive and behavioral factors had the most consistent
relationships with self-talk. The ndings are discussed in the context of recent
theoretical advances, and the article includes recommendations for future research
(e.g., the use of designs allowing the testing of meditational hypotheses) and for
current applied practice (e.g., avoiding the use of thought-stopping techniques).
Keywords: psychological skills training, mental preparation, applied sport psy-
Athletes and coaches believe that self-talk is an intervention that enhances
sporting performance and various psychological states, such as condence (Vargas-
Tonsing, Myers, & Feltz, 2004; Wang, Huddleston, & Peng, 2003). In addition,
many sport psychologists promulgate the benets athletes and coaches can expect
from using self-talk interventions. There is disagreement, however, among sport
psychology researchers regarding the data on which to advise sport participants. For
example, some investigators argue there is limited evidence that self-talk enhances
competitive sporting performance (Gardner & Moore, 2006; Martin, Vause, &
Schwartzman, 2005). One historical reason for the lack of evidence is that self-talk
has not been subject to extensive empirical examination. The situation has evolved
somewhat in the last 15 years, and researchers have expended considerable effort
investigating the self-talk and performance relationship. It has only been recently
that sufcient research has accumulated to allow investigators to review the empiri-
cal literature regarding self-talk (e.g., J. Hardy, 2006).
Effects of Self-Talk 667
The present review is timely and contributes to knowledge for at least three rea-
sons. First, a number of studies have appeared since the rst peer-reviewed synthesis
of the self-talk literature (J. Hardy, 2006), and an analysis of these investigations
can allow reviewers to make more meaningful knowledge contributions, particu-
larly within a relatively underdeveloped aspect of sports psychology. Second, the
previously published self-talk literature review did not critically examine the self-
talk and performance relationship, but focused on conceptual issues pertaining to
self-talk (J. Hardy, 2006). Third, to date, both peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed
self-talk reviews and coaching articles have focused primarily on what might be
termed “rst-generation questions” (cf. Higgins, 1999, p. 1313) or the effect self-
talk interventions have on performance. Reviewers have seldom sought answers
to “second-generation questions”: the examination of the mediators underlying
(i.e., how does self-talk inuence performance?) or moderators inuencing (i.e.,
which type of self-talk is most effective?) the effect of self-talk on performance.
Such a focus would have both theoretical and applied value, providing athletes and
coaches with advice on optimizing their use of self-talk. Consequently, a summary
of the available literature examining the self-talk–performance relationship that also
generates initial mediator- and moderator-related information ought to stimulate
future investigations with strong theoretical and applied implications.
Having identied the ways that an evaluation of the literature might contribute
to knowledge, a relevant issue is the determination of a suitable review method-
ology. To date, only narrative self-talk reviews have been published. With such
approaches, clear inclusion and exclusion criteria are not always present, and in
addition, the possibility of reviewer bias is increased. One way to minimize bias is
to adopt systematic and more objective ways of reviewing literature. As a further
advantage, systematic and objective approaches can allow authors to answer more
complex and theory-driven questions beyond those focused on self-talk’s inuence
on motor skill execution. Among the methods available, the systematic review and
the meta-analysis are the two most common approaches. The systematic review
is a methodology wherein investigators collate studies that t specic eligibility
criteria to answer research questions. Authors use transparent systematic methods
to minimize bias and provide more reliable ndings compared with narrative
approaches. Key characteristics include (a) clearly stated objectives with dened
eligibility criteria, (b) transparent replicable methodology, (c) systematic attempts
to identify studies meeting the eligibility criteria, (d) assessment of research, and
(e) systematic presentation and synthesis of the ndings (Higgins & Green, 2009).
In addition to these characteristics, a meta-analytic approach utilizes a denitive
methodology, in which previous studies’ ndings are converted to a standard metric
(i.e., effect size) that permits the use of statistical tests to analyze results (Thomas,
Nelson, & Silverman, 2005).
Although a meta-analysis may generate very precise information regarding
effects, this technique is not suitable for all study designs and literatures. For
example, within the self-talk literature, single-subject designs have been popular.
Their reliance, however, on qualitative interpretation negates the generation of an
effect size, thus preventing their inclusion in a meta-analysis. An additional pertinent
feature of the present self-talk empirical literature is its relative underdevelop-
ment. From a meta-analytic perspective, the use of a small number of studies can
have adverse effects on statistical power (Shadish & Sweeney, 1991). Given the
668 Tod, Hardy, and Oliver
pertinence of second-generation research questions to the present investigation,
which have received limited attention from self-talk researchers, such a situation
was likely to be compounded. Consequently, a systematic review was adopted as
the methodology of choice.
One criticism of rst generation–oriented research is that results indicate little
about when, where, why, and how interventions may work (Shadish & Sweeney,
1991). These questions pertain to the role of mediating variables, which might
help explain the effect of self-talk on performance-related outcomes, as well as
moderating variables, which might identify constraints as to when those effects
will hold. Previous researchers (e.g., J. Hardy, Oliver, & Tod, 2009) have argued
that to determine meaningfully whether self-talk affects performance it is necessary
to consider a number of moderating factors. For example, it may be that certain
types of self-talk are effective and others are not, or that self-talk works for some
types of athletes and not others.
Potential Moderators of the Relationship
Between Self-Talk and Performance
In the present review, we examined the evidence concerning two variables, athlete
skill level and self-talk type, with the potential to moderate the self-talk–perfor-
mance relationship. Moderators inuence relationships (in the present case, the
self-talk–performance relationship) by altering the direction (e.g., positive or
negative effect) and/or by varying the magnitude/strength. This may then affect the
consistency/robustness of this relationship within the sampled literature. Although
it is important to note that we are not directly testing whether a moderating effect
exists, examining the overall direction and consistency of ndings for different
categories or levels of potential moderators generates meaningful albeit initial
information concerning the presence of a moderating effect.
Athlete level and skill type were selected as moderators because there was
descriptive evidence suggesting they may inuence self-talk intervention effective-
ness as far as performance is concerned (e.g., Mahoney & Avener, 1977). Moreover,
it was possible to formulate theoretically grounded rationale for their potential
moderating role. For instance, descriptive studies have highlighted differences in the
use of self-talk between elite and nonelite, and between successful and unsuccess-
ful athletes (e.g., Highlen & Bennett, 1983), and it has been theorized that during
early stages of learning, novices use more explicit instruction and talk themselves
through the phases of a movement (Fitts & Posner, 1967). During later stages of
learning, individuals engage in less cognitive activity and their performances are
more automatic. As such, although the moderating role of skill level has not been
empirically assessed, novice athletes may benet more frequently from the use of
self-talk as compared with their skilled counterparts.
There is also a growing body of research indicating that the type of self-talk
used is important in terms of performance outcomes. By and large researchers
have conceptualized self-talk as either positive or negative, or instructional or
motivational in nature. Positive self-talk has predominantly been hypothesized to
aid performance whereas negative self-talk has been expected to cause detrimental
performance effects (Zinsser et al., 2010). From another perspective, Theodorakis,
Effects of Self-Talk 669
Weinberg, Natsis, Douma, and Kazakas (2000) argued that the effects of self-talk,
either instructional or motivational, on performance might depend on the type of task
being performed. As the execution of precision-based tasks can be aided through
increased attentional focus on relevant technical components, instructional self-talk,
which focuses on technical, tactical, and/or kinesthetic aspects of movements, is
hypothesized to be more effective than motivational self-talk for the execution of
such tasks. In contrast, motivational self-talk is predicted to be more effective than
its instructional counterpart for the execution of condition-related tasks character-
ized by strength and endurance, as motivational self-talk is used to increase effort,
enhance self-condence, and/or create positive moods. Theodorakis et al. (2000)
reported some support for their task-matching hypothesis, and results from some
subsequent studies have provided additional support for their original predictions
(e.g., water polo; Hatzigeorgiadis et al., 2004).
Potential Mediators of the Relationship
Between Self-Talk and Performance
In addition to examining the research regarding self-talk and performance, and the
conditions that might inuence the consistency and direction of any effect, this
review also considered potential mechanisms that might explain the relationship.
J. Hardy and colleagues’ (2009) recently proposed conceptual framework included
factors they theorized to underpin the self-talk–performance relationship. Adopting
a throughput perspective, the authors argued that self-talk improves motor skill
execution via four possible (cognitive, motivational, behavioral, and affective)
mechanisms. The authors stated that more research was required to develop a cur-
rent understanding of the identied mechanisms’ salience. This was primarily due
to the lack of explicit testing of mediation within the empirical self-talk literature.
By collating the existing ndings where the conceptualized mechanisms have been
examined as dependent not mediating variables, the current study represents an
initial step toward examining the credibility of J. Hardy and colleagues’ conceptual
postulates. The rationale behind these researchers’ proposed mediators is briey
considered next.
J. Hardy and colleagues (2009) used the term cognitive mechanisms to encom-
pass informational processing and attentional control. Athletes have reported using
self-talk for a variety of attention-based outcomes (e.g., concentration; Chroni,
Perkos, & Theodorakis, 2007), and in addition, experimental studies have indicated
that manipulating self-talk may be a useful adjunct strategy to alter attentional foci
(Bell & Hardy, 2009) and decrease interfering thoughts (Hatzigeorgiadis et al.,
2004). Attention appears to be a potential mediatory mechanism worthy of closer
examination given its strong theoretical and empirical links with performance
(Wulf & Prinz, 2001).
The second self-talk–performance relationship mediator that J. Hardy and
colleagues (2009) proposed represents a motivational theme, with a focus on self-
efcacy (Bandura, 1997) and persistence or long-term goal commitment. Although
self-talk has been conceptualized as an antecedent of self-efcacy, empirical ndings
regarding the effects of self-talk on self-efcacy are equivocal (Landin & Hebert,
1999; Scopp, 2003), which might threaten conclusions regarding self-efcacy’s
670 Tod, Hardy, and Oliver
mediatory role. Self-talk use has also been associated with persistence and subse-
quent performance on a challenging task (Chiu & Alexander, 2000).
Third, J. Hardy and colleagues (2009) suggested behavior as a class of self-
talk–performance mechanisms. Researchers have identied improvements in both
subjectively and objectively assessed technique resulting from self-talk (Anderson,
Vogel, & Albrecht, 1999; Edwards, Tod, & McGuigan, 2008). Furthermore, it
has been proposed that during early phases of skill learning, novices may “talk”
themselves through movements (Coker & Fischman, 2010; Fitts & Posner, 1967).
It is possible that changes in movement patterns or technical execution underlie
any performance improvements as a result of using self-talk.
Lastly, J. Hardy and colleagues (2009) proposed affect as a potential mediator
category. There is a great deal of psychological literature linking cognitive content
and affect (e.g., Beck, 1976; Lazarus, 1991), and in turn, affect and performance
(e.g., Beedie, Terry, & Lane, 2000). The contention that affective variables may
mediate the self-talk–performance relationship is not new (L. Hardy, Jones, &
Gould, 1996), and ndings from intervention studies offer support that self-talk
may inuence anxiety in a sporting context (e.g., Maynard, Warwick-Evans, &
Smith, 1995). The explicit mediating roles of affect, anxiety, or mood, however,
have yet to be examined. A summation of the self-talk–affective states literature
was considered an important initial step toward this goal.
In sum, the purpose of the current study was to review the sports-oriented
experimental self-talk literature employing a transparent systematic approach. The
rst specic aim was to review the evidence concerning whether self-talk inuences
sporting performance. The second specic aim was to review the evidence regard-
ing four types of mediators: cognitive, motivational, behavioral, and affectual. The
third specic aim was to review the evidence regarding two proposed moderators:
athlete skill level and self-talk type. Ultimately, the examination of this literature
might allow sport psychologists to advance their knowledge toward addressing one
of the most commonly cited queries in therapy-based research: “What treatment,
by whom, is most effective for this individual with that specic problem, and under
which set of circumstances?” (Paul, 1967, p. 111).
Search Strategy
To obtain articles of interest, a comprehensive search of three sources was con-
ducted: (a) online search of electronic databases such as, SPORTDiscus, PsycINFO,
PsycARTICLES, PubMed, Google Scholar, and Web of Science; (b) manual review
of reference lists within retrieved articles; and (c) manual search of journals, includ-
ing International Journal of Sport Psychology, International Journal of Sport
and Exercise Psychology, Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, Journal of Sport
Behavior, Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, Journal of Sports Sciences,
Psychology of Sport and Exercise, Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, and
The Sport Psychologist. Key phrases employed included self-talk, self-statements,
self-verbalizations, mental skills, psychological skills, psychological skills training,
performance, athlete, sport, exercise, and physical activity. Only English language
articles that contained data relevant to self-talk and sport-related activities were
Effects of Self-Talk 671
included in the present review. Studies that examined the effects of self-talk in
combination with other mental skills (e.g., goal setting) and citations that were
abstracts were excluded from our review. Furthermore, papers were excluded if
the type of self-talk or procedure used was unclear.
Retrieved papers were scrutinized using the aforementioned inclusion and exclu-
sion criteria. Once these criteria had been satised, we used procedures similar to
those that Sallis, Prochaska, and Taylor (2000) used to analyze the papers’ content
in a descriptive and semiquantitative review. Each study was listed alphabetically
according to author; however, as independent effects (k) were employed as the
unit of analysis, coding also reected papers that reported multiple studies and/
or effects on multiple dependent variables (e.g., Theodorakis et al., 2000, Study
1; Theodorakis et al., 2000, Study 2). All papers meeting the stated criteria are
indicated in the reference list with an asterisk (*). Data tables were developed to
reect sample characteristics (e.g., sex, age, competitive level), research designs
(e.g., presence of manipulation check, random allocation, random selection), and
the effects of self-talk.
The data tables mentioned above were analyzed to create summary tables presented
in the results section, which involved a number of stages. First, sample and design
characteristics were summarized by a tally count. Second, the effects of self-talk
on performance were examined. In a fashion similar to that of Goodger, Gorely,
Lavallee, and Harwood (2007), for a potential effect of self-talk to be examined, a
k of at least 3 was required to have the variable included as an outcome measure.
When there were an insufcient number of comparisons, theoretically meaningful
and conceptually similar variables were combined together (e.g., cognitive media-
tion mechanism). Consistent with other semiquantitative reviews, the direction
of each effect was subsequently coded as positive (+), negative (–), no effect (0),
or indeterminant/inconsistent (?) if the effect was ambiguous. To more compre-
hensively represent the data, a narrative commentary accompanied each effect.
The summarizing of the research surrounding each consequence was performed
by the calculation of the percentage of support offered by the relevant studies.
We employed Sallis et al.’s (2000) coding system: 0–33% = no effect, 34–59% =
inconsistent or indeterminate effect, 60–100% = positive or negative effect. Third,
potential mediator- and moderator-related research ndings were examined using
the same classication system described here.
Three researchers familiar with the eld of self-talk and with experience at
employing a variety of qualitative analysis techniques coded the data. Through
discussion, a consensus and nal coding of the data were agreed between all three
researchers. This allowed the researchers to form an in-depth appreciation of the
searched literature and ensure that only valid studies were included in the nal
analysis stage. As a result of this procedure, a limited number of initially retrieved
papers were subsequently excluded from the study (see below for a more complete
672 Tod, Hardy, and Oliver
General Findings
Following the aforementioned search strategy, a number of studies were initially
identied as being potentially relevant for the review. Upon closer inspection of
the reported interventions, however, a variety of concerns emerged regarding their
suitability. For example, a common reason for a study’s exclusion was the incorpora-
tion of supplementary intervention components, such as educational lectures (e.g.,
Howard & Reardon, 1986) or additional mental skills (Tenenbaum et al., 1995).
Another two studies met the inclusion criteria, but either did not employ a design
capable of generating salient data to address the present research questions (Tynes
& McFatter, 1987) or the manipulation check indicated that self-talk groups were
not established (J. Hardy, Hall, Gibbs, & Greenslade, 2005). Descriptive (sample
and design) data from these studies were included in the review, but excluded from
the main performance-oriented analysis. Consequently, a total of 47 studies were
identied. The number of ks throughout the results varies depending on the specic
question being answered and is reported.
Descriptive Characteristics of Self-Talk Studies
The analysis of the literature allowed a clear picture of the types of samples and
designs that self-talk researchers have employed. As a result, we were able to
highlight gaps in these descriptive aspects. The present review was based on a total
population size of 2,113 participants (1,146 male, 715 female, and 252 not speci-
ed) with an average sample size of 44 (SD = 39). Inspection of Table 1 reveals
that half of the studies employed samples that comprised both males and females,
with a little less than half (46%) of the eligible studies reporting a mean age of
20–39 years. The average age, based on the studies that reported a mean age, and
weighted to account for sample size, was 19.16 (SD = 4.88). No investigations
were based on data collected from masters or older athletes. Students, as opposed
to competitive athletes, were recruited most frequently (41%). Despite self-talk’s
applied relevance, slightly less than one quarter of the studies were based on
ndings employing talented or elite-level athletes (e.g., national developmental
squads; 22%).
As seen in Table 2, the vast majority of the research occurred within laboratory
or noncompetitive settings (91%) using mixed model (54%), within-participant
(24%), or single-subject experimental designs (9%). The majority of studies (56%)
had used either random or matched allocation strategies. Allocation strategies were
not relevant for one third of the studies (31%) owing to their within-participant
designs, and of these, nearly all (92%) used a full or partial counterbalancing strat-
egy. Other notable design features were that the majority of studies (63%) made
use of a manipulation check or an overt self-talk manipulation strategy (22%), with
just over half (52%) of the studies incorporating a self-talk practice/familiarization
phase. A range of control conditions were represented within the literature: (a)
no instruction (37%), (b) “do your best” (11%), (c) placebo (9%), (d) distraction/
neutral (7%), or (e) another type of psychological intervention (13%). A control
condition was not described in 2% of the non-single-subject studies with no control
Effects of Self-Talk 673
Table 1 Self-Talk Research Sample
Characteristic Studies,
Sample Size
<20 8 (17)
20–39 12 (26)
40–59 12 (26)
60–79 12 (26)
80–99 1 (2)
100+ 2 (4)
Male only 12 (26)
Female only 6 (13)
Combined 24 (51)
Not stated 5 (11)
Mean Age
<20 18 (38)
20–39 21 (45)
Not stated 6 (13)
Range given 2 (4)
Competitive Level
Student 20 (43)
Novice 5 (11)
Competitive 6 (13)
Talented/Elite 10 (21)
Youth 5 (11)
Injured 1 (2)
Total N = 47 (100)
group. Regarding type of self-talk intervention, the majority of research (67%) has
focused on the effects of instructional self-talk and 41% of the studies had compared
different self-talk interventions, with the most common comparisons involving
instructional versus motivational self-talk, and positive versus negative self-talk.
Effects of Self-Talk on Performance
As previously stated, researchers have conceptualized self-talk in two different
manners. Traditionally, there has been emphasis on positive and negative self-talk;
however, a slightly more contemporary conceptualization has been instructional
Table 2 Self-Talk Research Design Characteristics
Characteristic Studies,
(%) Characteristic Studies,
Type of Self-Talk* Self-Talk Practice/Familiarity
Instructional 32 (68) Practice/familiarity 24 (51)
Motivational 16 (34) No practice 23 (49)
Positive 13 (28)
Negative 3 (6) Manipulation Check*
Other/Ambiguous 8 (17) Present 30 (64)
Overt self-talk 10 (21)
Context Not stated 9 (19)
Precompetition and competition 3 (6)
Practice/training/eld test 32 (68) Counterbalancing
Laboratory 11 (23) Present 6 (13)
Ambiguous 1 (2) Partial 4 (9)
Not used 1 (2)
Design Setup Not applicable 36 (77)
Between–posttest only 5 (11)
Mixed model 26 (55) Control Condition*
Within 11 (23) Baseline/pretest 29 (62)
Single-subject experimental 4 (9) Placebo 4 (9)
Other 1 (2) No instruction 17 (36)
Distraction/neutral 3 (6)
Assignment Strategy Do your best 6 (13)
Random assignment 21 (45) Other 6 (13)
Matched 6 (13) Not stated 1 (2)
Quasi-random 2 (4) None 3 (6)
Nonrandom 2 (4)
Not applicable 14 (30)
Not stated 2 (4)
Note. *The totals in these design characteristics add up to more than 47 because some studies used more than one type of self-talk, manipulation check, or control condition.
Effects of Self-Talk 675
and motivational self-talk. Given that researchers have proposed that these different
types of self-talk ought to have differing, and at times contrasting, performance
effects (e.g., Van Raalte, Brewer, Rivera, & Petitpas, 1994), we felt that greatest
clarity would be obtained if we analyzed the effects of these types of self-talk sepa-
rately. Table 3 contains the results regarding the effect of self-talk on performance.
We identied 11 studies (k = 16) that had investigated positive or negative self-talk
in relation to performance. Although positive self-talk was found to have a positive
effect (75%) on performance, no support for an effect of negative self-talk (0%)
was detected. As Theodorakis and colleagues’ (2000) matching hypothesis impli-
cates the relevance of task type for the relative effectiveness of instructional and
motivational self-talk, this more contemporary body of literature was subdivided to
help assess the independent effects of instructional and motivational self-talk on the
performance of precision-oriented tasks (k = 26) and the execution of gross motor
skills susceptible to the effects of physical conditioning (k = 16). When consider-
ing the effect of self-talk on precision-based tasks, both instructional (80%) and
motivational (67%) self-talk were found to have a positive effect on performance.
Similarly, instructional (70%) and motivational (83%) self-talk were found to have
a positive effect on the performance of gross motor skills. Taken together, it would
seem that the empirical literature would support the contention that self-talk is
benecial for athletic performance.
Moderator-Related Results
Type of Self-Talk. Table 3 presents results regarding the comparison of positive
versus negative self-talk and instructional versus motivational self-talk. Given
the commonly held belief that positive self-talk is better than negative self-talk,
it is surprising that only four studies (k = 5) to date have addressed this issue.
Nevertheless, the empirical research ndings support this belief: when pitted against
one another, 60% of the research indicated that positive self-talk was more benecial
for performance than negative self-talk, the remainder of research (40%) reported
no performance differences between positive and negative self-talk. However, given
the small number of effects we were able to analyze, continued investigation of
this issue is warranted before rm conclusions can be drawn.
As mentioned earlier, the matching hypothesis presented by Theodorakis et
al. (2000) highlights the potential role of different types of self-talk. Following an
analysis of currently available literature, Table 3 illustrates the apparent lack of
support within the literature for differential effects of instructional and motivational
self-talk. Instructional self-talk was not consistently more effective than motivational
self-talk for the execution of precision-oriented tasks. Moreover, motivational self-
talk was not more effective than instructional self-talk for conditioning-based tasks
in the vast majority of studies conducted to date.
Athlete Skill Level. Table 4 depicts results regarding the effect of self-talk on
performance across different skill levels. No studies to date have directly addressed
this issue. When isolating the ndings of studies across different skill levels, the
picture is somewhat mixed. While there is evidence supporting a positive effect of
self-talk on performance for novices, youth athletes, and talented athletes, there
was an indeterminate effect for student samples, and no effect for competitive
adult athletes. Across the various samples, there was no evidence that self-talk
Table 3 Effects of Self-Talk on Performance
of Studies
of Effects
Percentage of Effects Supporting
the Presence of Effect
Sum Code+ 0
Inuence on General Performance Levels
Positive ST 11 12 75 0 25 +
Negative ST 3 4 0 0 100 0
Inuence on Performance of Precision-Based Tasks
Instructional ST 16 20 80 0 20 +
Motivational ST 6 6 67 0 33 +
Inuence on Performance of Condition-Based Tasks
Instructional ST 9 10 70 0 30 +
Motivational ST 6 6 83 0 17 +
Positive Versus Negative ST
General performance 3 4 50 0 50 ?
Instructional Versus Motivational ST
Precision-based tasks 6 6 33 0 67 0
Condition-based tasks 8 8 0 12.5 87.5 0
Note. ST = self-talk, PST = positive self-talk, NST = negative self-talk, IST = instructional self-talk, and MST = motivational self-talk.
Effects of Self-Talk 677
had a negative inuence on performance. However, given the small number of
effects we were able to analyze in several athlete categories (e.g., competitive
adults), continued investigation of this issue is warranted before rm conclusions
can be drawn.
Mediation-Related Results
Table 5 summarizes research regarding potential mediators of the self-talk–perfor-
mance relationship. As none of the included studies explicitly addresses mediation-
based hypotheses, research was included if it examined the effect of self-talk on
a proposed mediator.
Table 5 indicates repeated consistent positive effects of self-talk on cogni-
tive and behavioral variables. All four studies examining cognition identied
that self-talk had positive effects. Given that a wide range of dependent variables
were examined within this category (e.g., the frequency of interfering thoughts,
decision-making ability), replication of the specic ndings is necessary. With
regard to the behavior-focused studies, again unequivocal support was found for
a benecial effect of self-talk for both subjectively rated (n = 6) and objectively
assessed (n = 2) tasks. Whereas the majority of these studies used instructional
self-talk, changes in behavior were also reported when motivational self-talk was
used (e.g., Tod et al., 2009).
With regards to motivational mediators, all the identied studies focused on
self-condence or self-efcacy. Overall, the ndings regarding the effect of self-
talk on condence were inconsistent (43% positive effect, 57% no effect). Closer
scrutiny suggests that this may be related to the type of self-talk used, however, with
all studies using positive self-talk showing no effect and all studies using a motiva-
tional or instructional type of self-talk demonstrating a positive effect. Regarding
affectual mechanisms, all studies examined the effect of self-talk on anxiety. A
mixed picture emerged overall, however, and differential effects were identied
when considering cognitive and somatic anxiety separately. All studies examining
cognitive anxiety reported a benecial effect of self-talk, whereas 75% of studies
examining somatic anxiety showed no effect. Overall, there is some evidence that
positive and motivational types of self-talk may decrease cognitive anxiety. The
existing evidence regarding somatic anxiety demonstrates no clear effect.
Table 4 Relationship Between Self-Talk and Performance Stratified
by Skill Level
Athlete Skill Level
Number of
Number of
Percentage of Effects Supporting
the Presence of Effect
Sum Code
+ – 0
Student 16 32 59 0 41 ?
Novice 4 7 86 0 14 +
Youth 4 6 83 0 17 +
Competitive 3 12 25 0 75 0
Talented 9 18 88 0 12 +
Injured 1 1 100 0 0 +
678 Tod, Hardy, and Oliver
From reviewing the research, two other studies pertaining to potential mediators
of the self-talk–performance relationship were identied, which were not easily
integrated into the categories proposed in the model of J. Hardy and colleagues
(2009). First, Rushall, Hall, Roux, Sasseville, and Rushall (1988) reported that
heart rate was higher in self-talk conditions relative to a control condition. This
nding suggests that physiological changes, perhaps linked to arousal or effort, may
mediate effects of self-talk on performance. Second, Weinberg, Smith, Jackson, and
Gould (1984) examined the effect of self-talk on ratings of perceived exertion, and
found no differences between associative thinking, dissociative thinking, positive
self-talk, and control groups.
With regards to the primary purpose of the current study, our results offer initial
support for the effectiveness of self-talk interventions. More specically, consultants
may be heartened to know that the performance benets of self-talk were seen for
the use of positive, instructional, and motivational categories of self-talk. Never-
theless, contrary to the sentiments expressed in applied texts (e.g., Bull, Albinson,
& Shambrook, 1996) currently available data suggest that negative self-talk may
not have a detrimental effect on motor skill performance. Some researchers (e.g.,
J. Hardy, Hall, & Alexander, 2001; Van Raalte et al., 1994) have posed a possible
explanation for this null nding, namely, that some athletes may interpret their
negative self-talk as having motivational qualities (e.g., following a silly mistake,
athletes may give themselves a “talking to”). This null nding is also contrary to
writings discussing the “power of non-negative thinking” (e.g., Kendall, 1984)
and questions the value of thought-stopping interventions, which aim to reduce
the amount of negative self-talk said by performers. The present sentiment aug-
ments previous authors’ ironic effects-related warnings surrounding the continued
promotion of the thought-stopping technique by consultants (e.g., J. Hardy et al.,
2009). In addition, given the coverage concerning the use of positive or negative
self-talk within the self-talk literature, surprisingly few empirical examinations
of the assumption that positive self-talk is better for performance than negative
self-talk have been conducted. Although fairly consistent support was generated
Table 5 Summary of Research Examining Mediators of the Relationship
Between Self-Talk and Performance
Number of
Number of
Percentage of Effects Supporting
the Presence of Effect
Sum Code+ 0
1. Cognitive 4 5 100 0 0 +
2. Motivational 7 7 43 0 57 ?
3. Behavioral 8 10 100 0 0 +
4. Affectual 5 9 0 55 45 ?
Note. Dependent variables were as follows: 1. attentional focus, suppression of distracting stimuli, frequency of inter-
fering thoughts, and decision-making ability; 2. self-condence and self-efcacy; 3. subjective rating of technique
or movement execution, and vertical jump biometrics; and 4. pretest anxiety, and cognitive and somatic anxiety.
Effects of Self-Talk 679
for the use of positive self-talk compared with no self-talk, an inconsistent effect
was detected for the possible benets of positive self-talk over the use of nega-
tive self-talk. Given that the present analysis is based on the ndings of only four
studies, extreme caution is necessary when interpreting this nding. Nevertheless,
the identication of this shortcoming within the self-talk literature highlights an
avenue where additional research would continue to facilitate our understanding
of the effects of negative self-talk.
A matching hypothesis principle (Theodorakis et al., 2000) is another potential
inuence shaping the nature of self-talk interventions. Pivotal to this principle is
the precision or gross nature of the tasks being attempted. Our analysis provided a
lack of support for this intuitively appealing matching principle. It is possible that
other researchers may come to a more supportive conclusion, given that on occasion
nonsignicant results have been interpreted in favor of the matching hypothesis
principle. In such cases, relatively small sample sizes were employed reective of
the challenges of conducting research with very specic samples of the population
(e.g., Harbalis et al., 2008; disability sport athletes). Nevertheless, taken collectively,
the positive effects found for instructional and motivational self-talk (as opposed to
a control condition) on the performance of both precision and conditioning-based
tasks does provide preliminary evidence for the use of these cognitive strategies.
Such a statement might be best considered in the wider context that conclusions
regarding this evidence base may vary according to the criteria investigators use to
evaluate existing research. If, for example, meta-analyses of randomized trials were
set as the benchmark, as is the case in some bodies of literature (e.g., see Guyatt et
al., 2008; National Institute for Clinical Evidence; Scottish Intercollegiate Guide-
lines Network), then self-talk would be considered an unproven and unjustiable
intervention. Moreover, there remain some highly relevant yet unexamined factors,
which if addressed, would lead to substantial knowledge advances. For instance,
the few researchers who have attempted to collect competitive performance data
have encountered problems; for example, Johnson, Hrycaiko, Johnson, and Halas
(2004) were unable to collect sufcient soccer goal shooting data. As such, in most
situations, practitioners cannot source empirical data to justify using self-talk inter-
ventions for competitive performance-enhancement purposes. Nonetheless, pending
the utilization of appropriate study designs and a focus on measuring performance at
a suitable level, it is possible to investigate the inuence of self-talk on competitive
performance. Rather than focus on competitive outcome or global performance, it
may be more productive for researchers to examine self-talk’s effectiveness in rela-
tion to discrete skills or performance processes, such as the number of successful
tackles made during a rugby game or the proportion of goal kicking attempts that
are successful. Such a focus might generate detailed information concerning the
precise role(s) of self-talk in the competitive domain as well as illustrate to coaches
and athletes the effectiveness of self-talk on variables they value.
Given the relative lack of self-talk investigations employing competitive or
highly skilled athletes, more data gleaned from this seemingly elusive and small
sample of the population is warranted. To date, single-subject multiple baseline
designs have been a popular choice of method when involving such participants
(e.g., Landin & Hebert, 1999). However, these studies have yet to employ contem-
porary quantiable analysis strategies (e.g., ITSACORR; Crosbie, 1993) applicable
to single-subject experimental designs and capable of revealing signicant effects.
680 Tod, Hardy, and Oliver
A complimentary strategy would be for self-talk researchers to ground future
research within theories. Most of the research in the current review was issue,
rather than theory, based. Typically, researchers did not conceptualize self-talk
interventions around theoretical frameworks. Theoretically grounded interventions
will assist in moving self-talk research’s focus from rst- to second-generation
questions (i.e., from “does self-talk help?” to “what types of self-talk help?”).
Answers to these second-generation questions might provide practitioners with
advice that will allow them to design interventions that have a greater probability
of being effective for their clients.
There already exist a number of theories with relevance to variables that
have been viewed by self-talk researchers (e.g., J. Hardy, 2006) as offering at
least partial explanation of the self-talk–performance relationship. For example,
theorists have emphasized the role of self-talk in the interpretation and experience
of affective states (e.g., Lazarus, 1991; Meichenbaum & Butler, 1979) and the
initiation and regulation of behavior (e.g., Brinthaupt, Hein, & Kramer, 2009).
The present review provides some supportive evidence that self-talk also affects
non-performance-based outcomes, and that the mediational categories proposed
by J. Hardy and colleagues (2009) have relevance when seeking to understand the
effects of self-talk on sporting performance.
More specically, despite the paucity of the literature, the existent evidence
base does suggest that self-talk has benecial effects on cognition (in particular,
concentration and focus-related variables), cognitive anxiety, and the technical
execution of movement skills. The effect of self-talk on attentional variables is
consistent with the suggestions of Landin (1994) that verbal cues could be used
to increase focus as well as direct and redirect performers’ attention. Building on
evidence suggesting that self-talk inuences concentration and attention, research-
ers have begun to apply contemporary theories to provide guidance regarding the
precise nature and predicted effects of self-talk. For example, Bell and Hardy
(2009) employed self-talk as an adjunct strategy to manipulate internal and external
attentional foci to test the predictions of the constrained action hypothesis (e.g.,
Wulf, 2007). Continuing to develop and test theoretically grounded hypotheses with
potential relevance to self-talk is likely to clarify the self-talk–attention relationship
and provide clearer guidelines for practitioners. Furthermore, moderators such as
skill level may be particularly salient to this issue, as researchers have suggested
that the self-talk–attention association may be particularly relevant for beginners
(Landin, 1994).
The benecial effect of self-talk on cognitive anxiety is consistent with theo-
retical assertions that self-talk lies at the core of anxiety (Conroy & Metzler, 2004),
and ndings that reducing negative or anxious self-talk results in less anxious
states (Kendall & Treadwell, 2007). It may be overly simplistic to focus solely
on reducing negative self-talk, however, as some models have highlighted the
importance of an optimal balance of positive and negative thoughts for well-being
(e.g., state-of-mind ratios; Schwartz & Garamoni, 1986). In addition, the current
results indicate that negative self-talk is not associated with reduced performance.
It is perhaps unsurprising that the evidence did not support an effect of self-talk
on somatic anxiety. Literature in both clinical and sporting populations highlights
the importance of matching (mind–body) anxiety treatments to the mode of (cog-
nitive–somatic) anxiety in order to maximize effectiveness (e.g., Maynard et al.,
Effects of Self-Talk 681
1995). The effect of self-talk on behavioral factors is also supported by theoretical
frameworks, which have particular relevance during the learning phase of skills
acquisition. For example, it has been noted that novices tend to “talk” themselves
through movements (Coker & Fischman, 2010; Fitts & Posner, 1967), and instruc-
tional self-talk may provide an appropriate content for this inner dialogue (J. Hardy
et al., 2009). Furthermore, Wrisberg (1993) suggests that self-talk might inuence
learners’ performance by assisting with the “chunking” of complex information
sequences, assisting with the recall and execution of complex movement patterns.
Although self-talk is often promoted as a means of enhancing condence
(Zinsser et al., 2010), as previously mentioned, the ndings regarding the effect of
self-talk on condence were inconsistent: motivational self-talk appears to enhance
condence, whereas positive self-talk does not. It is possible that this difference
may be due to the specicity of the self-talk interventions; several of the studies that
examined positive self-talk in the context of condence-related beliefs employed a
positive thought control intervention. Such interventions are more all encompassing
and so are likely to be less closely linked with a focused issue such as condence
beliefs than the specic encouraging-type statements typically used as motivational
self-talk (e.g., “come on, you can do it”). The effect of motivational self-talk on
condence is consistent with the role of verbal persuasion as an antecedent of
efcacy, as discussed by Bandura (1997).
The review highlighted some additional noteworthy points regarding J. Hardy
and colleagues’ (2009) model. Although there was support for positive effects of
self-talk on cognitive and behavioral factors, the terminology used to describe
each category is broad, and hence the variables included within each category are
diverse. For example, the cognitive category included decision making, attentional
focus, and interfering thoughts. The precise rationale for effects of self-talk and the
way that self-talk might inuence each of these variables remains to be claried.
Conversely, J. Hardy and colleagues’ motivational category encompassed a range of
motivational factors, including persistence, quality of motivation, and competence
or self-condence. Thus far, research within this theme has exclusively focused on
the effects of self-talk on efcacy-based beliefs. There is clearly room for enrich-
ing the study of these themes. Although a perhaps inevitable consequence of the
still-emerging literature, from a critical perspective, the breadth of the categories
in J. Hardy and colleagues’ model provides little focused guidance for researchers
or practitioners.
Despite the breadth of the mediator categories in J. Hardy and colleagues’
model, this review highlighted two factors that were not consistent with any one
category. First, Rushall et al. (1988) identied a physiological effect of self-talk in
the form of increased heart rate. From a theoretical perspective, if considering heart
rate as an indicator of arousal, based on the circumplex model of affect (Russell,
1980), the ndings of this study could be incorporated into the affectual dimension
of mediators. However, an alternative argument could be made that a novel category
should be added to the J. Hardy et al. model to include physiological effects of
self-talk. This could potentially represent effects of self-talk on variables such as
hormones or neurotransmitters. The second nonclassiable effect was measured in
Weinberg et al.’s (1984) study that examined ratings of perceived exertion. Percep-
tions of exertion could be argued to include cognitive, motivational, and affective
elements, and, without clear hypotheses to ground the predicted effect of the types
682 Tod, Hardy, and Oliver
of self-talk used on perceived exertion, it is difcult to determine one classication
for this mediator, and perhaps unsurprising that no effect was found. The identica-
tion of additional potentially explanatory mechanisms of the self-talk–performance
relationship further develops the framework of J. Hardy and colleagues. Similarly,
identifying unsupported mechanisms (e.g., somatic anxiety) helps further rene
the model and counter claims that, owing to the (current) breadth of the themes,
self-talk is viewed as a panacea for all sports-related ailments.
Adopting a broader service delivery perspective on the mediating mecha-
nisms, it is not known if self-talk works because of the specic education involved
in teaching athletes to use particular verbal cues or because of some other less
specic factors, such as increased expectation, hope, or practitioner allegiance.
Psychotherapy research indicates that the specic factors or interventions account
for much less outcome variance than the nonspecic factors, such as the bonds
formed between the parties (Wampold, 2001). Applying these ndings to self-talk
and sport, potentially, self-talk interventions are helpful, but not as a result of the
specic cues used in the intervention. Instead, the nonspecic factors, which to
date have not been assessed or controlled, may be responsible for effectiveness.
By including measures of, or controlling for, nonspecic factors (e.g., increased
expectation or practitioner allegiance) in their designs to help identify the active
ingredients in service delivery, researchers can further advance knowledge concern-
ing self-talk’s effectiveness.
There are a number of limitations associated with the current study that ought
to be acknowledged. First, although restricting the sample to English-only articles
ensured consistency that all articles were thoroughly critiqued, this may have
resulted in the omission of relevant, high-quality literature. This issue is highlighted
when specic research questions have been investigated only in a relatively limited
number of studies. For example, we are aware that additional work has compared the
effect of positive and negative self-talk on performance (Dagrou & Gauvin, 1992),
and the inclusion of this would have altered the interpretation of the evidence base.
This example helps to illustrate how the present review’s ndings are dependent
on available data, as well as serving to demonstrate a second noteworthy point,
which is that the use of Sallis et al.’s (2000) accepted coding system may appear
to produce more denite categorical conclusions than critical inspection of the
literature would support. To compensate for this, we have augmented categoriza-
tions with narrative discussion to more fully reect the literature. We would urge
researchers and practitioners to fully consider the nature of the evidence base, and
to apply any of the review’s summation with appropriate caution. This is a critical
issue, as the drawing of premature conclusions may shunt the literature in aspects
of potential important relevance. Lastly, although the current study summarizes
the evidence regarding whether effects of self-talk are supported, it is unable to
generate information concerning the strength of any of these effects.
It appears from our analysis of the sports-based self-talk literature that practitio-
ners’ promotion of this psychological skill for performance enhancement purposes
has some support, although the breadth of the knowledge base needs expanding
(e.g., examining the intervention’s efcacy in competitive situations). Furthermore,
there is some emerging support of its supplementary, more process-oriented uses
(e.g., to reduce cognitive state anxiety). Theoretically, the present ndings extended
the J. Hardy et al. (2009) framework concerning the mechanisms behind the self-
Effects of Self-Talk 683
talk–performance relationship. Finally, preliminary evidence encouraging closer
scrutiny of two popular current viewpoints on self-talk emerged. The existing
literature suggests that negative self-talk does not impede performance, and there
does not appear to be consistent support for the differential effects of instructional
and motivational self-talk.
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... It is well established that self-talk intervention programs have a significant impact on individuals' enhancement of performance and skills development in both sport (for reviews, see Hardy et al., 2009;Hatzigeorgiadis et al., 2011;Tod et al., 2011) and physical education (PE; Anderson, 1997;Kolovelonis et al., 2011Kolovelonis et al., , 2012Theodorakis et al., 2001). Additionally, researchers have argued that self-talk can help students to improve their skills by directing their attention to the key point of the learning skill and helping them recall the individual movements of the skill (Landin, 1994;Weiss & Klint, 1987). ...
... The sport setting is a context for which a significant number of studies have examined the influence of self-talk on athletes' performance. More specifically, the findings of a systematic review (Tod et al., 2011) revealed that positive self-talk has a positive effect on athletes' performance. Similarly, a meta-analytic review of Hatzigeorgiadis et al. (2011) confirmed the moderate effect of self-talk interventions on sport-related task performance. ...
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between students’ perceived motivational climate (mastery and performance), satisfaction of basic psychological needs (autonomy, competence, and relatedness), and self-talk (positive and negative) in physical education (PE). Six hundred six students (282 males, 315 females, 9 did not provide their gender), aged 10 to 17 years old (Mage = 13.32 ± 2.12), from seven primary schools (n = 250), five secondary schools (n = 131), and eight high schools (n = 225) in Greece voluntarily participated in this study. During a PE class, students completed online a number of valid and reliable questionnaires measuring perceived motivational climate, basic psychological needs, and self-talk. Results showed that students’ positive self-talk was positively related to mastery motivational climate, autonomy, competence, and relatedness. In contrast, negative self-talk was positively related only to performance motivational climate and negatively related to perceived mastery climate, competence, and relatedness. Separate hierarchical regression analyses revealed that perceived mastery climate and competence were the most significant predictors of students’ positive self-talk. On the contrary, perceived performance climate, competence, and autonomy were the most significant predictors of students’ negative self-talk. On the basis of the results, it seems that PE teacher-initiated motivational climate and satisfaction of basic psychological needs is strongly related to students’ self-talk.
... Recently, research by Bellomo et al. (2020), using a multi-measure approach, confirmed a mechanism of information processing for the effectiveness of instructional self-talk and an effort-based mechanism for the benefits of motivational self-talk. Nevertheless, there is inconsistent evidence for the dissimilar impacts of instructional and motivational self-talk based on task properties (Tod et al., 2011). ...
... Therefore, the elbow joint position sense is a valid and reliable task to determine the behavioural effects of self-talk. Overall, despite differential impacts of instructional and motivational self-talk based on task properties, there is limited empirical support for this hypothesis (Tod et al., 2011). Also, based on empirical evidence, Galanis et al. (2016) introduced attention and motivation as the mechanisms of both instructional and motivational self-talk. ...
The benefits of self-talk on motor performance are well documented. However, there is a gap in the literature on basic research into the mechanisms underlying the performance outcomes of self-talk. The purpose of this study was to determine the neuromuscular mechanisms underlying the effects of instructional and motivational self-talk. Fifteen young females participated in a within-subject counterbalanced design under control, instructional, and motivational self-talk conditions. Surface electromyography (sEMG) was recorded from active (the right biceps and triceps brachii) and passive (the frontalis and left biceps brachii) muscles during reproduction of the elbow flexion angle (90°) in the joint position sense test. The self-talk conditions led to a significantly lower EMG activity of the right biceps muscle, decreased co-contraction ratio of right biceps activity to right triceps activity, and reduced absolute error for the elbow joint position sense compared to the control condition. Also, EMG gradients in the passive muscles were observed in the self-talk conditions but not in the control condition. These findings suggest that attention and motivation are the mechanisms that justify the relationship between self-talk and performance.
... Some other researchers have reached on this conclusion that the application of positive and motivational ST may lead towards the reduction of stress and anxiety ,known as cognitive anxiety. Tod et al. confirmed that ST lessens the effects of anxiety, as Hatzigeorgiadis, Zourbanos, Mpoumpaki, and Theodorakis did in a study which was incorporated by involving tennis players [9,10]. Latinjak et al. analyzed the impact of various techniques of ST in anger-eliciting situations and anxiety to acquired a positive influence of ST in anxiety-eliciting than in angereliciting situations [11,12]. ...
Self-talk is generally known as the study of sport psychology, to enhance the performance, to intensify the mood, and to improve the confidence. Athletes and coaches usually focus on self-talk to improve the performance in competition. Whereas the amount of conducted research is experimental in nature which emphasizes the functions of self-talk. This study stresses the connection of performance with self-talk. For this purpose, a sample of 130 elite cricketers was selected from the Pakistan cricket board and National Cricket Academy using two questionnaires. Automatic Self-talk Questionnaire for Sports (ASTQS) for self-talk and Self-Rating Scale of Athletic Performance was found to be reliable and consistent measures to be utilized in the study. This study has shown a significant positive correlation between performances with self-talk. where, Self-talk was found to be positively correlated with concentration, strength, endurance, motivation, mechanics ,team cohesion. Aggression, Quickness, Agility, and fitness are negatively correlated. The batsman was found to be using more Self-talk as a mental strategy in order to elevate the performance as compared to bowlers and all Rounder. These results project the efficacy and efficiency in the cricket performance, overall self-talk can be used as an effective and facilitative psychological skill to get the desired outcomes and performance in the sports field.
... Such studies have been implemented in different settings, laboratory and field, involving a diverse array of sport tasks, such as fundamental motor skills (e.g., vertical jump, Edwards et al., 2008), features of sport performance (e.g., tennis stroke, Cutton and Landin, 2007), and endurance tasks (e.g., swimming endurance performance, de Matos et al., 2021). Overall, the significant impact of strategic self-talk interventions in sport has been evidenced through a systematic review supporting the performance facilitating effects of self-talk (Tod et al., 2011), and a meta-analysis providing evidence for a medium effect size, and identifying moderators that can explain differences in the effectiveness of self-talk (Hatzigeorgiadis et al., 2011). ...
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The purpose of the present study was to examine the effects of a strategic self-talk intervention on basketball free throw performance under conditions of physical exertion. Forty-one male basketball players (Mage = 23.19 years) participated in the study. Following a baseline assessment, a 3-week intervention was implemented. During this period participants of the two groups practiced the same number of free throws in their training sessions; participants of the experimental group practiced using self-talk and developed personal free throw self-talk plans. In the final assessment, the participants repeated the free throw test following a typical shuttle run task causing increased physical exertion. The results showed that in the final assessment the self-talk group performed significantly better than the control group. Overall, the findings indicate that self-talk can be an effective strategy for basketball players when performing free throw under conditions of physical exertion, which is a typical situation in basketball games.
... In the context of the goal conflict model of eating (Stroebe et al., 2013), dietary self-talk might provide a mechanism for switching from the weight control goal to the food enjoyment goal. Despite the prominence of the selftalk concept in domains such as sports performance (Tod, Hardy, & Oliver, 2011) and disordered eating (Aya, Ulusoy, & Cardi, 2019), limited research to date has explicitly focused on the self-talk around everyday food choices including the context of discretionary snacking. As snacking is a complex behaviour, understanding the content of dietary self-talk before consuming discretionary snacks may provide a target for health-focused eating interventions. ...
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Background: Consuming discretionary snack foods high in calories, salt, sugar or fat in between regular meals can have a negative impact on weight management and health. Despite the intention to refrain from discretionary snacking, individuals often report feeling tempted by snack foods. A cognitive process to resolve food choice related tension may be dietary self-talk which is one's inner speech around dietary choice. This study aimed to understand the content and context of dietary self-talk before consuming discretionary snack foods. Methods: Qualitative semi-structured interviews based on Think-Aloud methods were conducted remotely. Participants answered open-ended questions and were presented with a list of 37 dietary self-talk items. Interview transcripts were analyzed thematically. Results: Interviews (n = 18, age: 19-54 years, 9 men, 9 women) confirmed the frequent use of dietary self-talk with all 37 content items endorsed. Reported use was highest for the self-talk items: 'It is a special occasion'; 'I did physical activity/exercise today'; and 'I am hungry'. Three new items were developed, eight items were refined. Identified key contextual themes were: 'reward', 'social', 'convenience', 'automaticity', and 'hunger'. Conclusions: This study lists 40 reasons people use to allow themselves to consume discretionary snack foods and identifies contextual factors of dietary-self talk. All participants reported using dietary self-talk, with variation in content, frequency and degree of automaticity. Recognising and changing dietary self-talk may be a promising intervention target for changing discretionary snacking behaviour.
... Some other researchers have reached on this conclusion that the application of positive and motivational ST may lead towards the reduction of stress and anxiety ,known as cognitive anxiety. Tod et al. confirmed that ST lessens the effects of anxiety, as Hatzigeorgiadis, Zourbanos, Mpoumpaki, and Theodorakis did in a study which was incorporated by involving tennis players [9,10]. Latinjak et al. analyzed the impact of various techniques of ST in anger-eliciting situations and anxiety to acquired a positive influence of ST in anxiety-eliciting than in angereliciting situations [11,12]. ...
Full-text available
Self-talk is generally known as the study of sport psychology, to enhance the performance, to intensify the mood, and to improve the confidence. Athletes and coaches usually focus on self-talk to improve the performance in competition. Whereas the amount of conducted research is experimental in nature which emphasizes the functions of self-talk. This study stresses the connection of performance with self-talk. For this purpose, a sample of 130 elite cricketers was selected from the Pakistan cricket board and National Cricket Academy using two questionnaires. Automatic Self-talk Questionnaire for Sports (ASTQS) for self-talk and Self-Rating Scale of Athletic Performance was found to be reliable and consistent measures to be utilized in the study. This study has shown a significant positive correlation between performances with self-talk. where, Self-talk was found to be positively correlated with concentration, strength, endurance, motivation, mechanics ,team cohesion. Aggression, Quickness, Agility, and fitness are negatively correlated. The batsman was found to be using more Self-talk as a mental strategy in order to elevate the performance as compared to bowlers and all Rounder. These results project the efficacy and efficiency in the cricket performance, overall self-talk can be used as an effective and facilitative psychological skill to get the desired outcomes and performance in the sports field.
... The effectiveness of such interventions has been consistently supported in sport psychology research and more emphatically documented by two review studies. Tod et al. (2011) in a systematic review confirmed the positive effects of strategic self-talk for performance. Additionally, a meta-analysis by Hatzigeorgiadis et al., (2011) revealed a moderate effect size (d=.42) for the strategic self-talk interventions on sport performance and identified moderators of the self-talk effects. ...
Background: Pistol shooting is a sport with high attentional demands. Strategic self-talk has been shown to assist learning and increase performance, in particular due to its effects on attention. Objective: The current study aimed to examine the impact of a strategic self-talk intervention on the learning of pistol shooting. Methods: An experimental study was designed and implemented. Forty sport sciences students with no experience in pistol shooting were randomly assigned to experimental and control groups. The study took part in nine sessions, one for familiarization, two for baseline measurements, four for training, and two for final measurements. The shooting was performed from a distance of five meters and recorded through the SCATT shooting system. Performance as Average Score (AS) and two stability variables, Average Length of Tracing (ALOT) and Stability of Aim (SOA), were recorded. Results: Repeated measures MANOVA showed a significant multivariate group by measurement interaction. Pairwise comparisons revealed that (a) AS increased for both the experimental (p.001) and the control group (p=.006), with the experimental group showing greater improvement, and (b) SOA and ALOT improved for the experimental group (p.001 and p=.003, respectively) but not for the control group (p=.37 and p=.21, respectively). Conclusions: The increases in performance for both groups can be attributed to the learning effect; however, the impact of self-talk was evidenced in the greater performance improvement, but also in the improvement of the stability variables that were targeted through the instructional self-talk cues that were used. The greater performance change for the self-talk group may be attributed to attentional mechanisms that brought about the improvement of the stability parameters.
Conference Paper
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The expanding technological possibilities have opened up space for the detection of psychophysiological changes and behavioral manifestations by non-contact methods that do not interfere with normal interaction. This paper aims to present the experimental design and data of the first pilot case study applying functional infrared thermal imaging and emotional expression analysis for deception detection. In the pilot psychophysiological experiment, we focused on monitoring changes in facial temperature, heart rate variability, and overall facial emotional expression during prepared and spontaneous lie scenarios spoken towards different interviewers.
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The present study was conducted to determine the predictors of positive and negative self-talk based on enneagram personality types in students. The design of the present study was descriptive and correlational. A total of 215 students who were studying virtually during the quarantine period due to the Covid-19 epidemic in 2020 were selected from different fields of study by convenience sampling method and used the Calvete Self-Talk Inventory (2005) and Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (2003) responded voluntarily. In order to analyze the data, Pearson correlation coefficient and multivariate regression analysis were used after controlling the age variable. Findings indicate that the Investigator type directly and significantly predicts positive self-talk scores (β = 0.35, p = 0.049) and the individualistic type directly and significantly predicts negative self-talk scores (β = 47, p = 0.023). In total, the predictor variables explained 13% and 22% of the variance of the criterion variables of positive and negative self-talk, respectively. Other dimensions of enneagram personality did not significantly determine self-efficacy scores (p> 0.05). The desire to discover the secrets of the world, thinking and researching, and not expecting others to be self-sufficient is the basis for positive self-talk in the "Investigator ". In addition, the tragedy of lost love and the love of poetic preconceptions, isolationism, emotional sensitivity, and dissatisfaction with the status quo predispose individuals with an "individualist" to depression and are accompanied by negative self-talk. The findings of this study open a window to understanding the relationship between the dimensions of human personality and dialogue with oneself.
INTRODUCTION: Cognitive therapy is a simple, short-term method designed to identify and decrease upset reactions to everyday events. Patients are given new, more rational explanatory "self-talk" interpretations so that similar events do not subsequently generate upset, which can lead to headache. PURPOSE: To review research about, rationale for, and author's approach to cognitive therapy for headache. METHODS: The author reviewed research on Medline and in the psychological literature on cognitive therapy for headache and headache episode antecedents. The author's adaptation of cognitive therapy to headache treatment is described. OUTCOME: Research studies with random assignment to cognitive therapy and control/placebo groups show that cognitive therapy reduces headache index by approximately 50% at 1 to 6 years after treatment. Efficacy is comparable to judicious preventive medication treatment. Emotional upset is the most common headache precipitant; it precedes perhaps half of all headaches in prospective and retrospective studies. The absence of emotional upset is associated with headache-free days. Numerous studies find cognitive therapy effective for both anxiety and depression-the 2 dominant comorbidities of headache. In the author's adaptation of cognitive therapy to headache treatment, patients keep a headache diary to identify upsetting events and the associated irrational, explanatory self-talk. Patients also complete a questionnaire before the first visit to help identify irrational thinking styles-such as perfectionism, excessive goal orientation, time pressure, worry, criticism, and excessive altruism. Simple, rational phrases that refute upsetting irrational thinking styles are offered to the patient to rehearse and overlearn. Common upsetting thinking styles and other precipitant behavior identified with the headache diary are described along with treatment suggestions. CONCLUSION: For selected headache patients for whom stress or depression are key components of headache pathogenesis, cognitive therapy should be helpful in long-term headache prevention. It can decrease reliance on medication and improve self-efficacy.
Although self-talk and anxiety are both held to influence sport performance, little is known about the relationship between these two psychological phenomena in sport. The introject surface of a circumplex model (Structural Analysis of Social Behavior; SASB) is presented as a tool for integrating popular existing schemes for classifying self-talk in sport. Using a sample of 440 college-age men and women, the present study examined the relationship between SASB-defined patterns of state-specific self-talk (while failing, while succeeding, wished for, and feared) and three forms of situation-specific trait performance anxiety: fear of failure (FF), fear of success (FS), and sport anxiety (SA). Distinct patterns of self-talk were associated with competitive anxieties in sport; the strongest effects were associated with FF and SA, in that order, whereas FS was more weakly associated with systematic patterns of self-talk. These results are consistent with cognitive theories of anxiety and may be used to inform assessments, diagnoses, and treatments of performance anxiety problems in sport.
The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of teaching skilled athletes to use self-talk (ST) and gain insight on the athlete's perceptions of the ST intervention and how it influenced their performance. The participants were four female players from an "elite" under fourteen female regional soccer team. A single-subject design, the multiple baseline across individuals, was used to examine the effects of the ST strategy on performance. The results of the study demonstrated that the ST strategy improved soccer shooting performance for two of the three experimental participants. The social validity assessment found that both the coach and the participants were very satisfied with the results and believed the ST strategy to be an important component in improving their performance.