Examining the Emotion Aspect of PETTLEP-Based Imagery with Penalty Taking in Soccer

By Ramsey, Richard; Cumming, Jennifer et al. | Journal of Sport Behavior, September 2010 | Go to article overview

Examining the Emotion Aspect of PETTLEP-Based Imagery with Penalty Taking in Soccer


Ramsey, Richard, Cumming, Jennifer, Edwards, Martin Gareth, Williams, Sarah, Brunning, Chris, Journal of Sport Behavior


Considerable scientific research has demonstrated imagery to be an influential tool in sport psychology (see Driskell, Copper, & Moran, 1994). However, the imagery literature has been criticised for not providing a detailed mechanism for explaining how performance is modified (Murphy, Nordin, & Cumming, 2008). To this end, recent developments in brain imaging techniques have suggested that representing an action through imagery and actual execution of action access similar neural regions of the brain (Ehrsson, Geyer, & Naito, 2003; Fadiga et al., 1999). This overlap in brain activation has been termed 'functional equivalence' by some researchers (for a review of functional equivalence theory, see Murphy et al., 2008), and is considered one reason why imagery leads to beneficial effects on physical performance. The theory of functional equivalence shares a basic tenet of Lang's bio-informational theory (Lang, 1977, 1979). That is, an emotional image will produce a physiological response analogous to the actual behavior. For example, Hecker and Kaczor (1988) reported competitively anxious imagined scenes produced elevated heart rates in a sample of athletes. Importantly, it has been proposed that imagery's effectiveness depends on how well these co-active neural regions are activated through imagery (Holmes & Collins, 2002).

Supporting this notion of functional equivalence, recent empirical studies have highlighted the potential for more compelling findings when functionally equivalent imageries are compared to imagery that is less equivalent with physical performance (Callow, Roberts & Fawkes, 2006; Smith & Collins, 2004; Smith, Holmes, Whitemore, Collins & Devonport, 2001; Smith & Holmes, 2004; Smith, Wright, Allsopp & Westhead, 2007). For example, Smith and Holmes (2004) explored the effects of differing imagery modalities on golf putting performance. In their study, individuals either performed imagery after reading a script or whilst listening to an audio or video recording (internal perspective) of them performing a golf putt. They found that modalities producing greater equivalence with actual performance (i.e., personalised audio or video footage) were more effective at improving performance than less equivalent imagery practice (i.e., written scripts). Evidence from these studies consistently suggests that performance facilitation is more pronounced following imagery practice that is more functionally equivalent to performance.

In applying functional equivalence to the field of sport psychology, Holmes and Collins (2001) developed the PETTLEP model of motor imagery. The PETTLEP model is a framework used to heighten the functional equivalence between imagery and physical performance of a motor task. The model proposes seven elements that when manipulated can increase functional equivalence (those being Physical, Environment, Task, Timing, Learning, Emotion, and Perspective). The Physical element is the degree to which the physical nature of imagery reflects that of actual performance. For example, when mentally practicing a soccer skill one should assume a characteristic posture, wear typical sportswear, and image the physical responses that would occur in real performance of the skill. The Environment element refers to the physical environment that the imagery is performed in being similar (if not identical) to the actual performance environment. For example, imagery of soccer skills should ideally be performed on a soccer pitch. The Task element refers to the imaged task corresponding as closely as possible to the actual task. That is, the specific content of imagery performed should specifically mimic actual performance. The Timing element refers to the imagined performances taking place at the same pace as actual performance (i.e., real time). The Learning element suggests individual's imagery should match their current stage of learning and adapt as skill level develops. …

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