Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Goal Orientation and the Modeling Process: An Individual's Focus on Form and Outcome

Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Goal Orientation and the Modeling Process: An Individual's Focus on Form and Outcome

Article excerpt

Visual demonstrations are widely accepted as a viable means of teaching individuals a variety of sport skills. The process by which individuals attempt to perform a skill demonstrated by another is called modeling. Several theorists have offered explanations regarding how an individual acquires information about a skill through observation and what the structure of that information is. Bandura (1977, 1986) and Yando, Seitz, and Zigler (1978) discussed the important cognitive mechanisms (e.g., attention, retention) involved in the process of acquiring information, and Scully and Newell (1985) suggested that the information being acquired is the relative motion of the modeled action. However, these theories scarcely discuss the importance of the individual's motivation in learning observed skills. Specifically, they do not clearly explain why an individual attempts to learn through observation. In addition to performance, a comprehensive theory of modeling should include an explanation for why one chooses to observe a model in the first place, as well as an explanation for individual differences in the learning of demonstrated motor skills.

Bandura's (1977, 1986) social cognitive theory has been the most influential framework used to study the acquisition of motor skills (McCullagh, Weiss, & Ross, 1989). This theory suggests that modeling of motor skills proceeds through learning and performance phases, with each consisting of two subprocesses. In the learning phase, observers must pay attention to relevant characteristics of the motor skill demonstration and remember what they have observed in order for behavioral reproduction to occur at a later time. Through attention and retention, they acquire a cognitive representation of the skill. Using this cognitive representation as a guide, observers in the performance phase must have the necessary physical capacities (e.g., strength) for motor reproduction to occur. This, however, is not a guarantee that the skill will be reproduced, because individuals also need to be motivated to perform the skill they have observed.

The majority of modeling research has examined factors that affect each of these phases or subprocesses. Researchers have explored model characteristics such as model status (e.g., Lirgg & Feltz, 1991; McCullagh, 1986) and model similarity (e.g., George, Feltz, & Chase, 1992; Gould & Weiss, 1981; McCullagh, 1987), because these are theoretically suggested to affect one's attraction to a model and, thus, one's attention. Retentional factors such as coding and rehearsal strategies (Carroll & Bandura, 1985) have been examined in adults as well as children (see Weiss, Ebbeck, & Wiese-Bjornstal, 1993, for a review). Studies that have examined the motor reproduction subprocess of modeling have studied the concurrent versus delayed modeling (Carroll & Bandura, 1987) and concurrent versus delayed augmented visual feedback (Carroll & Bandura, 1985).

Research on the motivational subprocess of modeling, however, has received much less attention in the physical domain. Only a few studies (Feltz & Landers, 1977; Little & McCullagh, 1989) have examined the effects of intrinsic, extrinsic, or vicarious incentives on performance within Bandura's (1986) conceptualization. In addition, Bandura suggested that model similarity can either raise or lower one's self-efficacy for performing the skill that one has observed, which in turn affects one's motivation for performing the skill. Research on motivational aspects of modeling has investigated the effects of model similarity on variables such as motor performance and self-efficacy (Gould & Weiss, 1981; McCullagh, 1987). Alternatively, Yando et al. (1978) suggested that individuals may have competence motives for modeling a skill. That is, individuals can be motivated to develop or demonstrate competence for themselves or others. This motive seems especially relevant for an achievement context such as sport. …

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