Exercise _ Sports Psychology

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					Exercise & Sports

    Dave Herlihy
     Joe Mills
Exercise and Sports Psychology
     The relationship between mind & body has been known for
    1.   Ancient Greeks believed exercise was an important
         component of both physical and mental health.
    2.   In the sixteenth century, Mendez wrote the book entitled
         “Book of Bodily Exercise”, which discussed the effects of
         exercise on the mind.
    3.   Psychologist & Philosopher James said,
         “Everyone knows the effect of physical exercise on the
         mood: how much more cheerful and courageous one feels
         when the body has been toned up, than when it is run
         down… Those feelings are sometimes of worry,
         breathlessness, anxiety, tension; sometimes of peace and
         repose. It is certain that physical exercise will tend to train
         the body toward the latter feelings. The latter feelings are
         certainly an essential ingredient in all perfect human
    Exercise and Sports Psychology

    Exercise and sports psychology is
     concerned with the psychology of human
     movement as it is reflected in our
     behavior, thoughts and feelings of the
     individuals engaging in that movement.
    1.   Many of the theories and methodologies that
         are used in exercise and sports psychology
         come from it’s parent discipline psychology
Exercise and Sports Psychology
    Exercise and sports psychology has two
     primary research objectives:
    1. Determination of the psychological antecedents of
       participation in sports and physical activity
       A. Personality factors that might lead someone to participate
          in sports or physical activity.
       B. Examine effects of pre-competition anxiety or confidence
          on performance.
    2. Determine what the psychological consequences of
       participating in sports or physical activity.
       A. How exercise might influence anxiety, depression or well
       B. How sports performance might influence feelings of self-
          confidence or self-efficacy.
The Framework of Exercise and
      Sports Psychology
    Exercise and sports psychology is
     composed of four distinct yet related
    1. Exercise Psychology
    2. Health Psychology
    3. Rehabilitation Psychology
    4. Sport Psychology
                                     Exercise Psychology
                           •Effects of aerobic exercise on emotional

                           •Impact of biological and psychological
                           factors in determining adherence to exercise

          Health Psychology                                 Rehabilitation Psychology
•Examination of personality factors related             •Influence of imagery and self-talk on
to compliance in weight loss programs                   recovery from an injury

•Effects of various behavior modification               •Examination of role that psychological
programs on the Type A behavior pattern                 factors play in coping with an injury

                                        Sport Psychology

                           •Attentional factors related to performance

                           •Personality characteristics that lead to success
                           in athletics
    Analysis in Exercise and Sports
    There are several analytical methods that can be used
     to examine psychological phenomena as it relates to
     exercise and sports
    1.   The popular method used has been constructionism, which
         has roots in the tradition of cognitive psychology
         A.   This perspective gives a great deal of weight to the individual’s
              subjective experience
         B.   Self-report is predominant analytical strategy used
              1) This involves using standardized questionnaires or psychological
                  a) Speilberger’s State-Trait Anxiety Inventory
                  b) Profile of Moods (POMS)
                  c) Beck Depression Inventory in the exercise domain
Analysis in Exercise and Sports
2.   Observational approaches have been used
     A.   Requires extensive training fro the observers so
          that all observers are recording behaviors in the
          same fashion
3.   Psycho-physiologic approach consist of
     examining phenomenon from both
     psychological and physiological perspective
     1.   Insight into psychological phenomena can be
          gained by examining physiologic events
         The Science of Exercise and
             Sports Psychology
    Popular issues studied by exercise and
     sports psychologists
    1.   Personality
    2.   Motivation
    3.   Arousal Performance
    4.   Attention
    5.   Exercise and Mental Health
    Personality has been the most popular
     area of research in exercise and sports
    1. Many believe that personality plays an
       important role in both performance, exercise
       and health behaviors
    2. Personality research underlies much of what
       exercise and sports psychologists study
    Hollander proposed that personality is

    1.   The innermost layers are relatively stable
         and the outer layers are more readily
         changeable based on the individuals
         interactions with his/her surroundings


    The center is referred to as the psychological core
    1.   It is the most stable and least changeable aspect of personality
    2.   Develops early in life from interaction with environment (parents, objects)
    3.   It is our Self-Concept
         A.   Perceptions of the outside world
         B.   Perception of Self
         C.   Basic attitudes, values, interests and motives




   Typical Responses are behaviors that are
    consistent with our core and usually remain
    consistent over time
                            Social Environment




   Role-Related Behavior acts as a buffer zone between
    our core and the social environment
    1.   It is the most changeable aspect of personality because it is
         based on the situation or surroundings one might be in.
    2.   These behaviors still remain consistent with the psychological
         core and typical responses
   The fact that personality is stable over
    time and is still able to be changed or
    modified has important implications in the
    examination of sports performance and
    exercise and health behavior
           Approaches to Studying
    There are two main approaches to
     studying Personality

    1.   Dispositional

    2.   Social Learning
Dispositional Approach
    Dispositional approaches include biologic
     theories and trait theories
    1.   Trait theories have been a popular approach
         to studying personality
         A.   Traits are relatively enduring, highly consistent
              internal attributes that an individual possesses
              (i.e. moody, anxious, touchy, restless, optimistic,
              active, sociable, outgoing, lively, carefree, calm
              and even tempered)
         Dispositional Approach
    Cattell proposed that personality
     consisted of 16 factors
    1. He developed the popular 16 Personality
       Factor (16PF) Questionnaire to measure
    2. This was a widely used approach to study
       personality until the 70’s
         Superordinate Dimensions
    The favored approach developed by Eysenck
     that examined the relationships among traits
    1.   Eysenck believed personality could be captured
         most effectively with only three dimensions.
         A.   Extroversion – Introversion (outgoing, sociable vs. shy,
         B.   Neuroticism – Stability (anxious, excitable vs. even
              tempered, easygoing)
         C.   Psychoticism – Superego (egocentric, impulsive vs.
              cooperative, caring)
     Superordinate Dimensions
2.   Each dimension is proposed to have biologic
     basis, highlighting the notion that personality
     is not some ephemeral construction but is
     intimately linked with biologic processes

3.   Cattell’s 16 factors boil down to the three
     superordinate dimensions
              Personality and Sports
    Does personality influence participation in
     sports or does participation influence
    1.   According to Eysenck’s model and research
         extroverts seek out sensory stimulation and are
         better able to tolerate pain, therefore they are more
         likely to take up and be successful in sports than
    2.   There is no evidence supporting the theory that
         participation in sports causes one to develop into an
         A.   The majority of the evidence suggests that extroverts tend
              to gravitate toward sports.
              Personality and Sports
    Participation in sports does have some
     effect on personality
    1.   Studies have shown there are long term
         benefits to participating in structured sports
         A.   Less deviant behavior such as: Anxiety and
         B.   It is possible for personality to change over a
              period of time as a result of regular physical
   Motivation itself is made up of three
    components. First, motivation is involved in the
    choices we make to participate in some activities
    and/or avoid participation in others. Second,
    motivation refers to how much an individual
    invests in an activity. Two different people may
    choose to invest widely differing amounts of time
    in an exercise program. Third, motivation is
    persistence, which is what keeps an individual
    engaged in a behavior, often in the face of
    obstacles or setbacks.
Approaches to Studying Motivation
    The McClelland – Atkinson model was one of the earliest and
     most influential model of motivation that explained the need for
     achievement using personality and situational factors
    1.    Numerous social – psychological theories of motivation have grown
          out of the McClellan - Atkinson model
    2.    These models have adopted a cognitive approach to achievement
         A.   The drive for achievement are caused by cognitive mechanisms.
              1)   Self – Confidence is the perception an individual has of his/hers own ability
                    a) It is situational specific
                    b) Considered the most important cognitive factor in sports
         B.   There are two prominent social psychological theories on motivation
    Social Cognitive Theory (SCT)
    SCT is based on the notion of self-efficacy, which is proposed to
     be the cognitive mechanism mediating motivation and behavior
    1.    SCT is not concerned with the skills that individuals actually possess
          but instead center on one’s own judgment of what they can do with
          those skills
    2.    Self-Efficacy – Is the conviction or belief an individual has that
          he/she can carry out a course of action to achieve a particular
         A.   Self-efficacy is important in determining choice of activities and whether or
              not one sticks with it.
         B.   Self-efficacy is derived from four factors.
         C.   Self-efficacy has been shown to be predictive of both the adoption and
              maintenance of moderate and vigorous activity in a variety of the
          Social Cognitive Theory
1.    Past Performance (Mastery Accomplishments)
     A.    It is the most dependable and influential factor in determining self-efficacy
     B.    The information is derived from previous experiences in similar situations
           1)   Past success = increased self-efficacy
           2)   Past failures = decreased self efficacy
2.    Vicarious Experiences
     A.    Information obtained by observing others engaging in similar tasks.
           1)   Information obtained this was is more potent as the similarity between the model and the
                individual increases
3.    Social Persuasion
     A.    Societal pressure placed on individuals
           1)   Even though this has a weak effect of self-efficacy it is stilled used by most major sport goods
                manufacturers in their advertising
4.    Physiologic Arousal
     A.    The appraisal by the individual of their own physiologic state
           1)   One person my interpret butterflies in their stomach as a negative and yet someone else may
                perceive it as a positive
     B.    Physiologic states are not limited to autonomic arousal, fatigue and pain during tasks
           also influence self efficacy.
         Social Cognitive Theory
    Self-efficacy determines the behavior in terms
     of choice, effort, persistence, thoughts and
     emotional reactions
    1.   The effect is not one way, behaviors, thoughts and
         feelings have a reciprocal influence on self-efficacy,
         which in turn, has an influence back on the sources
         of efficacy information.
    2.   This makes this model Dynamic, it constantly
         changes as new information is available
 Social Cognitive Theory (SCT)
Past Performance                       Behavior:

                    Self – Efficacy
                    The conviction
                    or belief an
Social Persuasion   individual has
                    that he/she can
                    carry out a
                    course of action
                    to achieve a
  Physiological     particular           Emotional
    Arousal         outcome              Reactions
                 Attribution Theory
    This theory developed by Weiner attempts to
     explain how a person interprets achievement
     outcomes and how that interpretation
     influences future behavior
    1.   The premise of this theory is that after engaging in a
         behavior that leads to some outcome the person
         begins to search to explain why the outcome
         happened as it did
         A.   These reasons for the outcome are referred to as causal
                 Attribution Theory
    The attribution model focuses on identifying
     common properties or dimensions
     underlying the attributions
    1.   Three Causal Dimension were identified:
         A. Locus Causality – refers to whether the cause or attribution
            is perceived to reside within (internal) or without (external)
            of the individual
         B. Stability – refers to the variability of the attribution over
            time, whether it is temporary (unstable) or permanent
         C. Controllability – refers to whether the attribution is under
            the individual’s control or controlled by someone else.
                  Attribution Theory
    These dimensions influence future behavior through
     mediation of emotional reactions and expectations.
    1.    They feel good when the outcome was successful and feel
          bad if it was a failure
    2.    The individual then engages in a causal search to determine
          the reason(s) that the outcome occurred as it did.
         A.   For example, immediately after missing a game winning field goal
              the individual feels angry or embarrassed. Upon reflection it
              becomes apparent that the weather conditions ad the distance of
              the kick made the task difficult. The person then realizes the
              missed kick was the result of external causes, unstable and was
              generally uncontrollable. After this causal search the individual
              feel indifferent emotional response or sense of eagerness to try
                  Attribution Theory
    The attribution model is the self-serving bias.
    1.   Winners tend to make attributions of success to
         ability or effort, whereas losers tend to identify
         situational causes as the reason why they failed.
    2.   This Bias is governed by the need to preserve self-
         A.   success is credited to internal attributes to enhance self-
         B.   Failure is credited to external attributes to protect one’s
         Arousal and Performance
    Arousal – is responsible for energizing an
     individual for action
    1.   Arousal is thought as varying along a continuum for
         deep sleep to extreme excitement or agitation.
         A.   Arousal involves perceptions by the individual
              1)   A particular situation can be perceived as a challenge (an
                   opportunity to grow) or a threat (potential for harm or loss). In
                   either case a stressor is perceived by the individual.
              2)   Stressors are not always negative can be positive
                    a) Positive stressors cause an individual to get “pumped-up”
                        for the task
                    b) Negative stressors are viewed a threats and are referred
                        to as anxiety
          Models of Arousal and
    Two major models have been proposed
     to explain the effects of arousal on
    1. Drive Theory
    2. Inverted U Hypothesis
                          Drive Theory
    Drive Theory predicts that performance increases in a
     linear fashion as arousal increases
    1.    It predicts performance is a function of interaction between
          habit and drive.
         A.   Habit refers to the dominance of the most well learned response,
              whether or not it is the correct response
              1)   As arousal increases, the likelihood of the subject eliciting the
                   dominant response (habit) is increased.
                    a) When the task requires a new unlearned skill it is likely the
                        dominant response will be incorrect. As the skill is practiced, the
                        dominant response becomes the correct response; thus
                        increased arousal actually facilitates performance
Drive Theory
Inverted U Hypothesis
    The Inverted U Hypothesis takes to the
     decrease in performance under high
    1. As arousal increases from low to moderate
       levels, performance increases
    2. As arousal continues to increase past this
       moderate (optimal) level, performance
       begins to decline.
Inverted-U Hypothesis

              Inverted U Hypothesis
    There are two factors that determine optimal arousal.
    1.    Task Characteristics
         A.   A simple task requiring few decisions will be less affected by
              higher levels of arousal than a complex task requiring many
         B.   Likewise, fine motor task requiring accuracy or precision (golf,
              archery) would require less arousal for optimal performance then
              a gross-motor task requiring speed, strength or endurance
              (weightlifting, sprinting)
    2.    Individual Differences
         A.   The more experience the individual the higher level of arousal
              they can tolerate
         B.   Personality factors effect optimal arousal (extroversion –
              introversion, neuroticism, trait anxiety). The person who is more
              highly aroused in normal situations have a low tolerance for
   Attention is the taking possession by the
    mind, in clear and vivid form, of one out of
    what seems several simultaneously
    possible objects or trains of thought.
    Focalization, concentration, of
    consciousness are of its essence. It
    implies withdrawal from some things in
    order to deal effectively with others.
      Measurement of Attention
   Attention is an instrumental part of
    successful performance, but is not easily
    studied because there is no uniform
    method for studying it.
      The Effect of Arousal on
 Arousal typically has its greatest effects on
  attention through its effect on the breadth
  of attention.
 As arousal increases, what happens to the
  breadth of an individual’s attentional field?
  Does it seem to NARROW or widen?
 The attentional field narrows
        The Effect of Arousal on
   Positive effect- when arousal increases
    from low to moderate levels the attention
    field in narrowed, which usually enhances
    performance, because the narrowing of
    attention eliminates unnecessary or
    irrelevant stimuli from the attentional field.
        The Effect of Arousal on
   Negative effect-as arousal continues to
    increase, attention is narrowed even
    further, potentially allowing the athlete to
    miss important, relevant environmental
    and situational cues.
              The Effect of Arousal on
   Numerous factors can impede on or aid
    1.    Internal factors
         a.    Personality
         b.    Emotional state
    2.    External factors
         a.    Task demands
         b.    Crowd noise
         c.    weather
      Measures of Attention
 Behavioral
 Self-report
 Psychophysiologic
     Behavioral Measures of
 One of the most profound ways used for
  behavioral measures of attention is a
  paradigm referred to as a dual-task
 As the names implies, two tasks compete
  for the subject’s attention.
      Behavioral Measures of
 The rationale for the dual-task paradigm is
  that, if the primary task requires a sizeable
  amount of the total attentional capacity,
  only a minimal amount can be allocated to
  a secondary task.
 So if attention is maintained on the primary
  task, there should be a performance
  decrement on the secondary task.
      Behavioral Measures of
 Although the dual-task technique has been
  used in sports, and can reveal a good deal
  about an athlete’s information processing,
  it does little to tell about attention
  processes in real sports situations.
 It is also questionable whether there is
  actually a limit to attentional capacity, the
  assumption of which underlies the dual-
  task technique.
     Self-Report Measures of
 Another way to think about attention draws
  from an individual difference approach, or
  attention style.
 The major assessment strategy in this
  context is self-report, usually via
         Self-report Measures of
 The most prevalent scale used in sports is
  Nideffer’s TAIS.
 The TAIS was developed out of
  conceptual framing of attention as two-
    1. Width dimension (broad vs. narrow)
    2. Direction dimension (internal vs. external)
         Self-Report Measures of
   Even though these dimensions seem to
    make sense and have been generally
    excepted; the TAIS has been roundly
    criticized for many reasons:
    1. Not being a good predictor of sports
    2. Not being able to asses both dimensions of
       attention (measures width, but not direction
       of attention).
       Self-Report Measures of
   Besides these short comings, the TAIS
    and other self-report measures suffer from
    other limitations:
     Whether   athletes can actually access the
      cognitive operations that occur during
      attentionally demanding activites and then put
      those into words.
     Athletes will not complete the questionnaires
      when it is most important.
Psychophysiologic Measures of
 The idea of this measurement of attention
  can be determined based on physiological
  responses of the body immediately before
 The two most common classes of
  measurement are:
    1. Cardiac responses
    2. Electrocortical (brain) responses
         Cardiac Responses
 As attention is directed toward the
  environment, heart rate slows down in an
  attempt to capture relevant cues from the
 When that attention is directed internally,
  heart rate speeds up in an effort to reject
  these situational cues.
      Electrocortical Responses
   The left hemisphere has traditionally been
    thought of as the site of logical, analytical,
    sequential thought processing, where as
    the right hemisphere has been thought of
    as the site of creative, free-flowing, parallel
    thought processing.
    Electrocortical Responses
 The activities in these hemispheres are
  measured by an EEG.
 What does EEG stand for?
 EEG stands for electroencephalogram,
  which is a recording, from the scalp, of
  electrical potentials occurring in the brain.
      Electrocortical Responses
   These EEG’s have shown that highly
    skilled athletes have the ability to reduce
    the mental activity in the left hemisphere,
    which in turn, makes the right hemisphere
    more dominant. By doing so, these
    athletes reduce distracting thoughts that
    could negatively affect performance.
    Exercise and Mental Health
 Regular exercise (chronic exercise) has
  been shown to reduce levels of anxiety
  and depression.
 These effects hold true for individuals
  suffering from mild to moderate levels of
  anxiety and depression and for those who
  have normal levels of anxiety and
    Exercise and Mental Health
 Both aerobic and anaerobic forms of
  exercise reduce depression.
 Which of these forms of exercise also
  works to alleviate anxiety?
 Aerobic exercise
        The Dose-Response
 This entails examining how varying doses
  of exercise, in terms of intensity, duration,
  and frequency, affect psychological status.
 5 to 20 minutes at 60% of max HR or
 The more an individual exercises (chronic
  exercise), the less anxiety and depression
  that individual is likely to experience.
    Psychological Well-Being
 Exercise is effective in enhancing and
  improving positive psychological states.
 One of the most consistently reported
  effects from exercise of even mild
  intensities has been an increase in
  feelings of energy.
 Thayer 10 minute walk example
      Psychological Well-Being
   What aspects of an individual enhanced
    by exercise?
     Energy
     Vigor
     Self-confidence
     Self-esteem
     Cognitive   function

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