Functions of mental imagery in expert golfers

Abstract : Objectives: This two-study article examines the functional aspects of the use of imagery and describes the relationship among function, content and characteristics of mental images used by expert golfers in different situations. Method: In Study 1, three methods of interviews (field interviews self-confrontation interviews and focus group) were used with 21 expert golfers to collect data about their use of imagery. In Study 2, 31 expert golfers were exposed to different situations (task-involving vs. ego-involving situations, easy vs. difficult tasks conditions) in order to examine the links between: (a) the function and the content, and the function and the characteristics of their mental images, and (b) the situation and the function of their mental images. Results: Results indicated that one category of content (images of the outcome with an internal perspective) was principally used by all participants. Moreover, the expert golfers adapted the content and the characteristics of their images according to the function that was required by the situation. The influence of the situation on imagery use highlighted in Study 1 was not confirmed in Study 2. Conclusions: Results confirm the links among function, content and characteristics of imagery postulated recently (Fournier, Deremaux, & Bernier, 2008; Murphy, Nordin, & Cumming, 2008; Nordin & Cumming, 2005). Taking into consideration these functional links should enhance the relevance of future research and help the sport psychology practitioner to better understand athletes' use of imagery. The influence of the situation on imagery use still requires further exploration.
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Marjorie Bernier, Jean F. Fournier. Functions of mental imagery in expert golfers. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, Elsevier, 2010, 11 (6), pp.444 - 452. ⟨10.1016/j.psychsport.2010.05.006)⟩. ⟨hal-01753418⟩

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