Instructional self-talk with external attentional focus decreases errors in depth perception

Poster Presentation
Paper ID : 1129-12THCONG (R1)
Oral / Poster Presentation File: 1129-12THCONG.jpg 
1Masters student ,Motor learning and control,Faculty of physical education and sport sciences,University of Tehran , Tehran , Iran
2Associate professor ,Department of Motor behavior and sport psychology,Faculty of physical education and sport sciences, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
Self-talk is an extremely useful mental skill, and its positive effects on improving the performance of athletes have been confirmed. Nonetheless, to date the impact of self-talk in relation to attentional focus has not been studied. Therefore, the present study aims to explore the effect of self-talk with different kinds of attentional focus on the performance of depth perception in students.
10 female students that were selected randomly from Faculty of Physical Education and Sport Sciences in University of Tehran, mean age (23.44±1.949), participated in the study.
Research Methodology: The study used a quasi-experimental intra-group design as its method, and it used electrical examiner of depth perception (122B) as the instrument to test depth perception. Tests were taken in four conditions: 1. Motivational self-talk (I am able to have an accurate depth perception); 2. Instructional self-talk with internal attentional focus (thumb); 3. Instructional self-talk with external attentional focus (Parallel bars); 4. Without self-talk.Research protocol included seven repeats in 20 seconds and a one-minute break between each condition. Moreover, counterbalance was used to prevent learning effects
An analysis of variance on repeated measures indicated that external instructional self-talk (0.26 ± 0.10) led to a decrease in depth perception error compared to internal instructional self-talk (0.58 ± 0.21) and motivational self-talk (0.047 ± 0.05). Bonferroni post hoc test showed a significant difference between external and internal self-talk (P = 0.001) and between external and motivational self-talk (P = 0.001).
It seems that external attention creates a kind of automatic control, and it can lead to improvement of unconscious and involuntary processes. This enables one to control movements in an extended range and consequently, it improves performance and learning. Hence, it is recommended that trainers, in order to athletes’ errors in depth perception, use external attentional focus self-talk.