Chapter 15 Exercise and sports psychology Vicki Klopf Rachael Ervin-Korte
Objectives • Explain how the sub disciplines of exercise and sports psychology fits within the discipline of exercise science • Distinguish among the various areas of study that usually fall under exercise and sports psychology • Describe the prominent approaches for studying personality, including some of the major issues and findings from the area • Explain arousal and it’s effects on performance • Describe the prominent motivational theories in exercise and sports, including representative findings from motivational research. • Describe how exercise influences thoughts and emotions
Brief history of Exercise and Sports Psychology • Ancient Greeks expressed importance of both physical and mental health • 1600th century book by Mendez Book of Bodily Exercise which stated effects of exercise on the mind • Although our ancestors recognized the intimate link between mind and body it wasn’t until the 1960s and 1970s that any systematic investigations were done in relation to exercise and sports psychology • This field has borrowed many theories and methods from other parent disciplines, especially it’s primary parent discipline psychology
Definitions • Exercise and Sports psychology is concerned with the psychology of human movement as it is reflected by the behavior, thoughts and feelings of individuals engaging in that movement. • Exercise Psychology is the application of the educational, scientific, and professional contributions of psychology to the promotion, explanation, maintenance and enhancement of behaviors related to physical work capacity. • Sports Psychology is the educational, scientific, and professional contributions of psychology to the promotion, explanation, maintenance and enhancement of sports related behavior.
Exercise and Sports Psychology • Two Primary research objectives: • Determination of the psychological antecedents of participation in sports and Physical Activity • Research attempts to determine what personality factors might lead someone to participate in sports or PA • Research that examines the effects of pre competition anxiety or confidence on performance. • Determination of the psychological consequences of participation in sports and Physical Activity • Research examines how an exercise training program might influence anxiety, depression or well being • Research in how sports performance might influence feelings of self confidence or self efficacy
Example research questions for Exercise Psychology • Does exercise have an effect on psychological well being? • Does exercise influence emotions and moods • Can exercise be used as a treatment for people suffering from mental illness? • Can exercise be addictive?
Example research questions for Sports Psychology • What is the relationship between anxiety and performance? • How does attention influence performance? • Are there psychological predictors of athletic injury? • Does relaxation have a role in improving sports performance?
Framework of Exercise and Sport Psychology • Exercise and Sports Psychology is composed of 4 related areas • Health psychology • Exercise psychology • Sports Psychology • Rehabilitation psychology
Analysis in Exercise and Sports Psychology • There is a large variety of analytical methods used in attempt to answer questions • Constructionists: roots in the tradition of cognitive psychology • Great deal of weight is given to individual’s subjective experience • The major analytical strategy used is Self Report • Use of standardized questionnaires or psychological inventories • Spielberger’s State-Trait Anxiety Inventory • Profile of Mood States • Beck Depression Inventory • Sport competition Anxiety Test • Competitive State Anxiety inventory 2 • Test of Attentional and Interpersonal Style in sports • Observation • Watch what people do and record their observations • Coaching Behavior Assessment System • Requires extensive training for proper observation so results are all relatively accurate – very unpopular
Focus on SciencePersonality: Definition and Overview • Statements are derived from the belief that personality plays a role in performance and behaviors • There is little consensus about how to define personality • One way to understand personality is to examine how it is conceptualized • One way is to look at personality as multilayered; with the inner layers being the most stable and outer layers most easily and ready to change • The center is the psychological core, which is the most stable and least changeable aspect of change • Developed from early interactions with the environment( i.e. parents, objects) • Develops a sense of what the external world is like • Develops a sense of self: thoughts, beliefs, basic attitudes, values, interests, and motives. • Also known as our Self Concept
Personality • The next level is the typical responses which are behaviors that are consistent with our core and usually stay consistent over time • The next layer is a buffer zone from the social environment: Role related behaviors. • This layer is the most changeable because behaviors are based on the situation or surroundings a person might be in. • Important to note that these behaviors will still run concurrent with the basic core and typical responses. • Bottom line: Personality is relatively stable over time but is open for change and modifications
Approaches to Studying Personality • There are numerous studies that can be used to study exercise and sports psychology. • Two most prominent are the dispositional approach and the learning approach, otherwise known as the interactionist approach to studying personality. • Dispositional focuses on the person • Target biologic theories and trait theories • Classic views of dispositional theories come from the ancient Greeks with their beliefs that personality was intimately linked to the body’s “humors” or fluids. Meaning that depending on how much or how little of a fluid within one’s body determined personality. • For example if you had a lot of blood it was a sign of cheerfulness where as if you had more black bile you were more melancholy or depressed. • One can only imagine the fairly gruesome scenes resulting from this practice due to the belief that to fix personality you must alter these bodily fluids. • Learning focuses on the environment • Target conditioning or behaviorist theories and social learning theories.
Dispositional approach • Classic views of dispositional theories come from the ancient Greeks with their beliefs that personality was intimately linked to the body’s “humors” or fluids. Meaning that depending on how much or how little of a fluid within one’s body determined personality. • For example if you had a lot of blood it was a sign of cheerfulness where as if you had more black bile you were more melancholy or depressed. • One can only imagine the fairly gruesome scenes resulting from this practice due to the belief that to fix personality you must alter these bodily fluids.
Learning Approach • Learning focuses on the environment • Target conditioning or behaviorist theories and social learning theories.
Approaches to Studying Personality • Another popular approach to studying personality is the trait theory. • Traits are relatively enduring and highly consistent internal attributes that an individual possesses. • Such as moody, anxious, touchy, restless, optimistic, active, social, outgoing, lively, carefree, calm and even tempered
Trait theory • 16 Personality Factors Questionnaire (16PF) • Cattell proposed that personality consisted of 16 factors that were derived through statistical procedures.
Trait theory • Another psychologist named Eysenck favored an approach that examined relationships among traits; especially ones he termed Superordinate dimensions and all the dimensions had a biologic basis. • He believed personality could be captured most effectively with only three dimensions, So he broke down Cattell’s work down into three basic dimensions: • Extroversion-introversion(outgoing, social vs. shy, inhibited) • Neuroticism-stability ( anxious, excitable vs., even tempered, easy going) • Psychoticism-superego (egocentric, impulsive vs. cooperative, caring) • This approach was widely used in the 1960s and 1970s especially in sports.
Interactionist approach to studying personality • Hot Topic: Person-Situation Debate • Vigorous debate in the study of personality which discusses whether focusing on the person or the situation is the more effective way to study personality • Personal perspective is referred to as the trait approach which emphasizes that personality is derived from stable, enduring attributes of the individual; which lead to consistent responses over time and across situations. • Situation perspective emphasizes that behavior is best explains by examining the environment and the individual’s reaction to that environment. • Current thought is that a mixture of both views is the best way to understand the influence
Interactionist Approach • Another important issues involved the distinction between states and traits • Traits are seen as relatively enduring dispositions that exert a consistent influence on behavior in a variety of situations. • Example: A highly trait anxious person would tend to be a worrisome, nervous individual regardless of the situation. • States are viewed as the psychological reaction to the situation in which the individual finds him/herself and are consistent with the individual’s traits. • Example: When placed in a situation such as standing at the free throw line in the closing seconds of a close game, this individual would be expected to response with a high amount of state anxiety
Problems with these studies of Personality • Major problems with these studies are that most of them are conducted out of convenience. • For example, a group of athletes are asked to take a questionnaire or multiple personality inventories and then the data is collected, analyzed and a conclusion is drawn from this study. • From these studies it has been concluded that there is no relationship between personality and athletic performance • If a more useful approach, such as one that involves using a theoretical framework, deriving testable hypotheses from that framework and then using a measurement tool and a subject sample that will allow testing of the hypothesis, results have shown some consistent relationships between personality and performance.
Motivation • What drives individuals to stick to an exercise program with a fervent regularity while another drops out within with 3months of beginning? • What leads and individual to continue in a sport even though he or she has experienced a series of failures and disappointments? • What leads another to become involved in sports and physical activity while another one avoids it? • All these questions relate to the topic of motivation. • What is it, what pushes people to do or not do certain things?
Motivation • Motivation is made up of three components • Choices we make to participate or avoid activities • How much effort is put into the activity • How persistent is the individual with the activity
Approaches to studying Motivation • Most often studied from an achievement framework approach • Initially studies by the McClelland-Atkinson model which is one of the earliest and most influential models. • The model its self proposes a complex mathematical approach to predict and explain the need for achievement, a concept developed within the model, using both personality ( individual ) and situational ( environment ) factors. • Many social-psychological theories of motivation have grown out of this model, most of which have adopted a cognitive approach to achievement motivation wherein strivings for achievement are assumed to be caused by cognitive mechanisms. • Most important of these cognitive constructs is self-confidence or the perception an individual has of her or his own ability. • Self confidence is the belief an individual has that he or she can successfully execute an activity or plan.
Approaches to studying motivation • There are two social psychological theories in exercise and sport psychology. • Bandura’s social cognitive theory of which self perception of ability is paramount • Weiner’s attribution theory
Social cognitive theory • Major component of this theory is self efficacy • Self efficacy is the convictions or beliefs an individual has that he or she can carry out a course of action to achieve a particular outcome. • This belief is not concerned with the skills that individuals actually possess but is instead centered on their own judgment of what they can do with those skills • Self efficacy is essentially self confidence that is specific to a particular situation • This concept is a KEY factor in determining behavior. • Self efficacy is important when determining choice of activities, effort put into those activities and the persistence in the activity • For example when a individual with low self efficacy is more likely to drop out of an exercise program when faced with difficulties like an unsupportive spouse than is a high efficacious person.
Self efficacy Self efficacy is derived from four factors • Past performances/ Mastery accomplishments • Most influential and most dependable factor affecting self efficacy • Past success = increased efficacy judgments • Past failures = decreased efficacy judgments • Vicarious Experiences/ or Observing others doing the same task • Determine efficacy judgments • Used when an individual is less experienced with a given task • Social Persuasion • Physiological arousal • Appraisal by individuals of their own physiologic state • For example, an individual may interpret increased heart rate and butterflies in the stomach as negative, leading to a fear that he or she cannot perform where as another individual experiencing the same physiologic responses may interpret them as positive, as in being ready to perform – being psyched up.
Self Efficacy • In conclusion, Self efficacy determines behaviors in terms of choice, effort, persistence, thoughts and emotional reactions and the relationship between self efficacy and behavior is reciprocal • The Self efficacy model is one model that is consistently changing as new information is introduced • Also it has been shown to be an important determinant of physical activity and sports behavior. • It is estimated to account for approximately 25% of all the available possibilities for explaining performance and the maintenance of moderate and vigorous activity in a variety of populations
Attribution theory • Attribution theory attempts to explain how a person interprets achievement outcomes and how that interpretation influences future behaviors • In other words after engaging in a behavior that leads to some outcome the person begins a search to explain why the outcome happened as it did. • For example after missing a crucial free throw, an athlete would attempt to determine why he or she missed the short. The failure might be attributed to being distracted by fans or being too nervous. These reasons for the outcome are referred to as causal attributions.
Attribution theory • There are four classic attributions; • Ability • Effort • Task difficulty • Luck or chance • Although attributions themselves are interesting, by themselves they are relatively unimportant. • The model focuses more on identifying common properties or dimensions underlying the attributions
Attribution theory • There are three causal dimensions • Locus of causality • Whether the cause or attribute is perceived to reside within(internal) or outside (external) of the individual • Stability • Variability of the attribution over time • Controllability • Whether the attribution is under the individual’s control or controlled by someone or something else
Attribution theory • Bottom line: • When an outcome occurs, an individual experiences an emotion, referred to in the model as an Outcome-dependent effect. • Feelings good = outcome was successful • Feeling bad = failure • Which then leads to a causal search to determine the reason that the outcome occurred as it did • After the search it is them placed among the three dimensions • These dimensions influence future behaviors through the mediation of emotional reactions and expectations
Attribution theory • Another important factor: Self-serving bias • A bias set by the need to preserve self esteem, which leads to internal attributions after success to enhance self esteem and attributions that protect self esteem after failure. • Winners associate success with abilities or effort where losers tend to blame situational causes, such as the sun was in my eyes
Summary of Attribution Theory • Answers questions such as why people stick or drop out of regular exercise programs and activities • Exercisers have usually shown that they have higher perceptions of control of their health, an internal locus of causality, and more controllability of their exercise behavior • There is much more research needed to be done in this field to further explain and understand this complex behavior
Arousal and Performance • Overview and Definition • Arousal is defined in exercise and sport psychology as responsible for energizing an individual for action, varying along a continuum of deep sleep to extreme excitement • Arousal is an ongoing state and the body is consistently functioning at some level of it • Has multiple dimensions: • Valence: how positive or negative, good/bad something is • Intensity: low or high • Arousal is controlled by the central nervous system (the brain) and interacts with the peripheral nervous system (rest of the body) • Arousal involves the perception of the individual within a situation. • For example, a particular situation could be either viewed as a challenge or a threat, both of these things are called stressors • Stressors are perceived by the individual and the fight or flight response is triggered into action
Arousal and Performance • Common mistake in research is to say that all stressors are negative – This is not true! • If the individual interpretation of a stressor is not negative then the stressor is not negative i.e. some people hate the loudness of the crowds, other people thrive on it • If the stressor is seen as negative it is a threat which triggers anxiety • There are many levels of anxiety; therefore there are varieties of measurements of anxiety. • Brain activity • Heart rate • Cortisol – a stress hormone released during encounters with a stressor • Self report
Models of Arousal and Performance • Two major models have been proposed to explain the effects of arousal on performance: • Drive theory • Drive theory predicts that performance increases in a linear fashion as arousal increases. In other words, drive theory predicts that performance is a function of the interaction between habits and drive (arousal) • Habit refers to the dominance of the most well learned response, whether or not it is the correct responses • As arousal increases the likelihood of using a habit increases • When new skills are being learned the habit is usually seen as the incorrect skill • As the skill is practiced overtime it becomes the habit which in turn increases arousal which facilitates performance. • Although this theory makes theoretical sense, it is not usually supported due to the complexity of the results of research and the fact it is very questionable
Models of Arousal and Performance • Inverted U hypothesis • This theory states that as arousal increases from low to moderate so does the performance levels. As they continue past this point the performance levels begin to decrease. • This theory accounts for performance decreases under high levels of anxiety where as the drive theory does not conclude the true facts that high anxiety is detrimental to performance levels
Models of Arousal and Performance • Another hot topic within this theory: Optimal Arousal • Important two factors of this sub theory: • Task characteristics • Task complexity and type of the task • A simple task requiring few decisions will be less affected by higher levels of arousal than complex tasks • I.E: Fine motor movements require much less arousal for optimal performance that a gross motor task such as speed, strength or endurance. • Individual differences • Personality factors: Extro/Introversion, Neuroticism • Experience • Experienced individuals can handle higher levels of arousal • Individuals who are highly aroused in normal situations ie introverts will not be able to tolerate much additional arousal without suffering in their performance levels. Bottom line Further research can lead to clearer understanding of performance enhancement in optimal arousal theories and arousal has the potential to influence motor performances.
Attention A vital aspect of athletic performance Having a successful performance is based on ignoring irrelevant stimuli while focusing on the important factors Typically a person will switch from an effortful, conscious mode of performing to an automatic, unconscious mode with more practice When playing with a decent tennis or golf player (in automatic- mode) ask them if they are inhaling or exhaling on their backswing. This will bring them back to concentrating.
How do you measure attention? • There is no uniform strategy for studying attention. • Many methodologies involve disruption of performance • This is an undesirable effect when examining athletic performances • Arousal can have important effects on attention • As arousal increases, the attentional field is narrowed • This can be advantageous to an extent to help ignore irrelevant stimuli. The more aroused the person is, the more the attentional field narrows, enabling the person to forget pre- task routines that are critical to the performance.
Behavioral Measures of Attention • Dual- task paradigm’s (a pattern, archetype, or set of rules, especially as related to a set way of viewing or doing things within one’s world view) are used to compete for the subjects attention. • The assumption in this experiment is that the individual has a certain amount of attentional capacity. • There is only so much attention to go around
Behavioral Measures of Attention Continued… • If the first task uses up a sizeable amount of the attention capacity there is no attention left for the second task. • Is dual- task technique good to use in sports? • The technique reveals a good deal of processing information, but not an excessive amount about attentional processes in real sports situations. • It is debatable whether there is actually a limit to attentional capacity, the assumption in which this test is based on.
Self- Report Measures of Attention • Also referred to as attentional style • Different people are affected in different ways by task demands and situational factors • It is a major assessment strategy • Usually via questionnaire • Nideffer’s TAIS is the most prevalent attention scale used in sports • Attention is looked at as being “two- dimensional” • Width (narrow vs. wide) • Direction (internal vs. external)
Self-Report Measures of Attention Continued… • Very useful and commonly used, but is a poor predictor of sports performance • The best aspect is measuring the width of attention • Self- report suffers from more limitations… • It is rare to find someone who can recall exactly what he/ she was thinking when they performed this attentionally- demanding task and to put it into words • The athletes usually respond “I don’t know” • Athletes will not generally complete the questionnaire when it is most important (ie. immediately before the performance) and if they do, it will change the performance outcome.
Psychophysiologic Measures of Attention • Psychological construct of attention can be determined based on physiologic response of the body immediately prior to the performance • Assessments of bodily response during this period-prepatory period is also potentially less disruptive to performance.
Anxiety and Depression • Mental health has been known to be linked to physical health for generations • Exercise is associated with reductions in anxiety and depression • Both aerobic and anaerobic exercises reduce depression, but only aerobic reduces anxiety.
Exercise and Mental Health Continued… • There has been little research done on dose-response effects on exercise • Entails how doses of exercise, in terms of intensity, duration, and frequency affect psychological status • To reduce anxiety and depression, an exerciser must work out for at least 20 minutes at no less than 60% of maximum heart rate or oxygen capacity. • Carrying exercise to extremes may lead to depression or anxiety • Athletes in sports like swimming and distance running can overtrain easily.
Psychological Well- Being • There is growing evidence that exercise enhances and improves positive psychological states. • Walking increases energy vs. eating a candy bar or smoking a cigarette • Psychological Well-Being- positive emotion and happy thoughts overcoming negative emotion • Exercise has been shown to also increase self- confidence, self- esteem, and cognitive functioning
How Does Exercise Produce Psychological Changes? • It is clear that exercise produces positive effects, how and why this happens is still a mystery • Four classic explanations for how and why… • Distraction hypothesis • Endorphin hypothesis • Thermogenic hypothesis • Monoamine hypothesis
Distraction Hypothesis • Most popular hypothesis • Only hypothesis that is strictly psychological • Theory: The reason for improved emotion after exercise is that the act of exercising provides a distraction from normal cares and daily worries. • Exercise provides a timeout from usual concerns, it is a chance to leave them behind for a while.