Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2010

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Alice Healy

Abstract

The current study examined the possible additive benefits of focus of attention (FOA) on observational learning, mental imagery, and physical practice. Utilizing a full-body multiphase physical task allowed us to examine the influence of each of these effects on overall athletic performance. Subjects were limited to experts in the selected long-jump task. Internal and external foci of attention were compared using a mixed factorial analysis of variance. A difference was found reflecting longer distances jumped for internal FOA than for external FOA. This effect, however, was attributed to unintended differences between the two groups due to their level of expertise. Normalized data corrected for this problem and revealed no effect of FOA. Although FOA did not influence speed or distance overall, an external FOA produced a pattern of higher levels of improvement following physical practice when compared to internal FOA. Furthermore, both analyses yielded a significant effect of condition, reflecting longer distances following physical practice than following mental or observational practice.

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