Volume 39 - n. 3 - July-Semptember 2008


Self-Consciousness, perceived evaluation, and performance of a continuous motor task

Jonathan P. Maxwell, Richard S.w. Masters and Jamie M. Poolton

Institute of Human Performance, University of Hong Kong

According to some authors, highly self-conscious individuals are susceptible to performance breakdown in the presence of an evaluative audience (e.g., Maxwell, Masters, & Poolton, 2006), whereas other authors report less susceptibility (e.g., Baumeister, 1984). Previous studies have provided these contrasting results using discrete tasks. The aim of the current study was to ascertain whether self-consciousness is associated with changes to continuous task performance (simulated driving) in the presence and absence of an evaluative passenger, and to elucidate the direction of this relationship. Participants, classified as either high or low self-conscious (n = 14 in each group), performed seven 5-minute trials on a driving simulator. The first six trials (Practice Phase) were performed alone, whereas, the final trial (Observation Phase) was performed whilst observed. During the Practice Phase high self-conscious drivers were recorded engaging in riskier driving behaviours, relative to low self-conscious drivers. During the Observation Phase, high self-conscious drivers still displayed riskier driving behaviours than did low selfconscious drivers despite both groupsâ

Keywords: Anxiety, Driving simulation, Performance modulation, Self-consciousness



Mental toughness research: Key issues in this area

Declan Connaughton *, Sheldon Hanton *, Graham Jones ** and Ross Wadey *

(*) University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, UK
(**) Lane 4 Management Group Ltd, Bourne End, UK

This report reflects on the many books and articles which describe and attempt to understand mental toughness. In doing so, the authors sought to (a) raise awareness of the key conceptual andmethodological issues, and (b) stimulate research activity in this area. Populist texts, anecdotal evidence, and personal accounts have defined mental toughness as a personality trait, a decisive factor accounting for successful performance, and a defense mechanism against adversity. These accounts have resulted in a vast array of terms and positive psychological characteristics being associated with mental toughness which have contributed to the inconsistency and ambiguity in the literature. Methodological issues have also added to the confusion surrounding the overall understanding of mental toughness. Recent studies which have tried to address the concept of mental toughness in a more scientific manner are discussed.

Keywords: Attributes, Definition, Super-elite



Game location influences basketball players’ performance across playing positions

Jaime Sampaio *, Sergio José Ibañez **, Miguel Angel Gomez ***, Alberto Lorenzo *** and Enrique Ortega ****

(*) Sport Sciences Department, University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal
(**) Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Extremadura, Spain
(***) Faculty of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, Polytechnic University of Madrid, Spain
(****) Department of Physical Activity and Sport Science. Catholic University of Saint Anthony. Murcia, Spain

Home advantage in sport has been the subject of much empirical work, although the causes underlying this effect are still unclear. In team sports such as Basketball, available literature has analyzed home versus away performances at a team level. The present study investigated the presence of home advantage at the level of the individual player’s position. It also attempted to identify a subset of game-related statistics that could discriminate home and away performances according to each player’s position. To achieve these aims, archival data were obtained from 225 games for the 2004-2005 Euroleague. Players were subdivided so that the “point guards” and “offguards” were pooled as guards (n=493), the “small forwards” and “power forwards” were grouped as forwards (n=485) and the centres (n=233). A 2x3 (game location: home and away; playing position: guards, forwards and centres) factorial MANOVA followed by a discriminant analysis was performed. For the guards, the discriminant function was significant and the game-related statistics that differentiated most home and away performances were the successful two point field-goals, defensive rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and committed fouls. The forwards’ home and away performances were discriminated by successful freethrows, assists, steals, blocks and committed fouls. The function for centres was non significant. Results suggested a differential effect of home advantage in basketball players by role in the team, with guards from home teams playing more assertively, whereas in away teams forwards played more assertively. These results provide initial evidence to support a position specific approach when preparing for home and away games in team sports.

Keywords: Basketball, Home advantage, Playing position



Physical Self-Concept in adolescence and young adulthood: A comparison of Turkish and German students

F. Hülya Asçi *, Dorothee Alfermann **, Emine Gagar *** and Jeannine Stiller **

(*) Baskent University, Ankara, Turkey
(**) Unversity of Leipzig. Leipzig, Germany
(***) Kirikkale University, Kirikkale, Turkey

The purpose of this study was to examine age and gender differences in physical self-concept in two different cultural contexts. This study also aimed to study cultural differences in physical self-concept by comparing German and Turkish adolescents and young adults. 901 Turkish (mean age = 19.3 years, SD = 3.10) and 733 German students (mean age = 19.8 years, SD = 2.97) voluntarily participated in this study. The Physical Self-Description Questionnaire (PSDQ) was administered to all participants to assess their self-perceptions on multiple dimensions of physical self-concept. Results indicated significant differences in the multiple dimensions of physical self between males and females and also between adolescents and young adults favoring males and young adults. Analysis also demonstrated culture differences in which German students had higher perception scores on competence subscales while Turkish students scored higher on the appearance related subscales of PSDQ. Furthermore, significant age group x culture and gender x culture interactions were obtained. In a summary, gender and culture are possible factor that should be considered in the understanding of physical self.

Keywords: Age, Culture, Gender, Physical self



Table tennis performance following explicit and analogy learning over 10,000 repetitions

Johan M. Koedijker, Raôul R. D. Oudejans and Peter J. Beek

Research Institute MOVE ,VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands

We investigated acquisition and performance during explicit and analogy learning over many repetitions, with a specific interest in changes in the robustness of performance under increased pressure. Explicit and analogy learning groups performed 10,000 table tennis forehand strokes, evenly distributed over six weekly sessions. Explicit learners reported more explicit rules about movement execution than analogy learners, even though this number declined from 1,400 to 10,000 repetitions. Furthermore, performance of the analogy group seemed to asymptote after 1,400 repetitions, while that of the explicit group continued to increase. Despite differences in rule formation, neither group appeared to show performance decrements under pressure or secondary task loading after 1,400 or 10,000 repetitions. All in all these findings do not provide grounds for minimizing the accumulation of explicit knowledge in learning in view of its potentially detrimental effects on performance.

Keywords: Choking under pressure, Implicit Learning, Reinvestment hypothesis



Effects of an additional computer simulation training programme and/or on-court specific instructions on advance cue detection in basketballers

Juan Granda Vera, Ángel Mingorance Estrada, José Carlos Barbero Álvarez, Dionisio Hinojo Sánchez, Nordin Mohamed Maanan and Mª Teresa Reyes Domínguez

Faculdad de Educación y Humanidade, University of Granada, Spain

In this study, we evaluated the effects of adding to a training regime a computer programme simulation designed to improve the anticipation of defensive players during a basketball 1-v-1 situation. Twenty two 15-year-old players were divided into three groups: a control group, with usual on-court practice; an experimental group, with usual on-court practice and specific learning tasks to detect relevant cues; and an experimental group, with simulation training based on a computer programme to improve cue recognition, together with usual on-court practice and specific learning tasks to detect cues. Learning was qualitatively and quantitatively evaluated before the beginning of the training programme half-way into the season, and at the end of the season, with a simulated test designed to emulate a 1-v-1 defensive action during actual play. Improvements in perceptual anticipation and transfer were measured in the different groups through the anticipation ability index and the reaction time to the opponentâ

Keywords: Advance cues. Computerised simulation, perceptual anticipation, Prceptual training