IMAGERY:Paivioís Two-Dimensional Model, Developing Imagery Skills

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Sport Psychology(psy407)
Lesson 27
Conceptual Models for Studying Imagery
Imagery has both a cognitive and a motivational function. The cognitive function of imagery is the use of
mental imagery to experience specific sport skills and to plan strategies in advance of competition. The
motivational function of imagery is the use of imagery to experience goal attainment, effective coping, and
arousal management. One function is primarily cognitive, while the other is primarily emotional.
Paivio's Two-Dimensional Model
Paivio conceptualized the practice of imagery to be either situation specific or general in nature. Thus,
Paivio's conceptual model of imagery is two dimensional in nature. As revised by Hall (1998) and measured
by the SIQ, Paivio's two dimensional model for imagery has five independent uses:
1. Motivational-Specific (MS)
In this type of imagery, the athlete imagines herself in a specific setting that is highly motivation. For
example, the athlete might herself making the winning basket in an important basketball game.
2. Motivational General-Mastery (MG-M)
In this type of imagery, the athlete imagines himself in a general sport situation exhibiting the ability to
remain focused. For example, the athlete might imagine himself thinking positive thoughts every time he
comes to bat during an important game.
3. Motivational General-Arousal (MG-A)
In this type of imagery, the athlete imagines herself in a general sport situation exhibiting the ability to
control anxiety. For example, the athlete might imagine using deep breathing to stay relaxed during a tennis
4. Cognitive Specific (CS)
In this type of imagery, the athlete imagines herself correctly executing a specific sport skill during
competition. For example, the athlete might imagine chipping a ball onto the green in a golf tournament.
5. Cognitive General (CG)
In this type of imagery, the athlete imagines himself reviewing team defensive strategies in volleyball. For
example, he might imagine the team shifting the defensive formation to defend against a quick attack from
the middle.
The Four Ws of Imagery Use
According to Munroe, & others (2000), the four Ws of imagery use are where, when, why, and what. With
this in mind, the where of imagery use is during training or competition, with research suggesting that most
takes place during competition.
The when of imagery use refers to when imagery is used within training or competition. Relative to training,
imagery takes place during practice and outside of practice. Relative to competition, imagery takes place
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Sport Psychology(psy407)
before, during, and after competition, with most of it taking place before competition in the form of mental
The why of imagery use refers to the function of imagery. An athlete engages in imagery in order to invoke
either cognitive or motivational changes. The what of imagery use refers to the content or quality of the
images that the athlete has.
Developing Imagery Skills
Detailed practical suggestions for helping athletes to improve and develop imagery skills are provided by
Vealey and Greenleaf (2001). A sample six-step program to enhance imagery ability is provided below:
1. Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed, assume a comfortable position, and relax
completely before beginning. Deep breathing and progressive relaxation is a suggested way to
achieve the relaxed state.
2. Practice imagery by visualizing a colored circle that fills the visual field initially and then shrink to a
dot and disappear. Make the circle turn a deep blue.
3. Create the image of a simple three-dimensional glass. Fill the glass with a colorful liquid; add ice
cubes and a straw. Write a descriptive caption underneath the image.
4. Select a variety of scenes and images and develop them with rich detail.
5. Imagine yourself in a sport setting of your choice. Project yourself into the image as if you were one
of the performers. Imagine yourself successfully performing the task in the scene.
6. End the session by breathing deeply, opening your eyes, and slowly adjusting to the external
Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention Programs Using Imagery and Relaxation
Research has demonstrated that individualized packaged intervention programs are more effective that
nonindividuallized programs in which participants select their own strategies. Athletes benefit most from
intervention strategies that are designed to fit their needs and are presented in a systematic and organized
Three cognitive-behavioral intervention programs to be introduced in this section include Visual Motor
Behavior Rehearsal (VMBR), Stress Inoculation Training (SIT), and Stress Management Training (SMT).
Visual Motor Behavior Rehearsal (VMBR)
Visual motor behavior rehearsal (VMBR) was developed by Suinn (1972, 1994) as an adaptation of Wolpe's
(1958) desensitization procedure for humans. His particular methods of training consisted of:
1. Relaxing the athlete's body by means of a brief version of Jacobson's progressive relaxation
2. Practicing imagery related to the demands of the athlete's sport
3. Using imagery to practice a specific skill in a lifelike stressful environment.
VMBR combines relaxation and imagery into one procedure. Numerous investigations have been reported
that demonstrate that VMBR is effective in enhancing athletic performance, as well as in reducing the
debilitating effects of overarousal and state anxiety.
Stress Inoculation Training (SIT)
Stress inoculation training (SIT) is a cognitive-behavioral programs developed by Meichenbaum (1977,
1985) that incorporates relaxation training, imagery, and other cognitive processes into a single plan.
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Sport Psychology(psy407)
Threatening situations are presented through imagery, films, role playing, and real-life situations. For
example, if the fear of competition is stressful, the athlete is allowed to experience both imagined and real
competitive situations. As soon as the athlete is able to cope with a low level of stress, the situation is
changed, and a more stressful situation is presented, in this way, the athlete becomes inoculated against
progressively increased levels of stress. Eventually, the athlete's fear of competition is minimized to such a
degree that he can cope with it.
Research with SIT in athletic situations has demonstrated its effectiveness in reducing stress (Hamilton &
Leith, 1993)
Stress Management Training (SMT)
Stress management training (SMT) is a cognitive- behavioral intervention program developed by Smith
(1980) that incorporates relaxation training, imagery, and other cognitive processes. The athlete is taught to
understand the nature of stress generally, and to understand the source of her stress specifically.
The athlete learns and practices integrated coping responses which are reduced by the subject through the
application of cooping responses learned during skill acquisition.
Research supports the use of SMT for reducing stress and for enhancing athletic performance (Crocker,
Cox, H. Richard. (2002). Sport Psychology: Concepts and Applications. (Fifth Edition). New York: McGraw-
Hill Companies
Lavallec. D., Kremer, J., Moran, A., & Williams. M. (2004) Sports Psychology: Contemporary Themes. New
York: Palgrave Macmillan Publishers
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Table of Contents:
  1. SPORT PSYCHOLOGY DEFINED:Issue of Certification, The Research Sport Psychologist
  2. SELF-CONFIDENCE AND SPORT PSYCHOLOGY:Successful Performance, Verbal persuasion
  3. SELECTING SELF-TALK STATEMENTS:Skill accusation, Controlling effort
  4. GOAL ORIENTATION:Goal Involvement, Motivational Climate
  5. CAUSAL ATTRIBUTION IN SPORT:Fritz Heiderís Contribution, Other Considerations
  7. MOTIVATION IN SPORT:Social Factors, Success and Failure, Coachesí Behavior
  9. PRINCIPLES OF EFFECTIVE GOAL SETTING:Clearly identify time constraints
  10. A TEAM APPROACH TO SETTING GOALS:The Planning Phase, The Meeting Phase
  11. YOUTH SPORT:Distress and anxiety, Coach-Parent Relationships
  12. ATTENTION AND CONCENTRATION IN SPORT:Information Processing, Memory Systems
  13. ATTENTION AND CONCENTRATION IN SPORT:Measuring Attentional Focus
  14. PERSONALITY AND THE ATHLETE:Personality Defined, Psychodynamic Theory
  15. THE MEASUREMENT OF PERSONALITY:Projective Procedures, Structured Questionnaire
  16. PERSONALITY AND THE ATHLETE:Athletic Motivation Inventory, Personality Sport Type
  21. COPING STRATEGIES IN SPORT:Measurement of Coping Skill
  22. RELAXATION STRATEGIES FOR SPORT:Progressive Relaxation, Autogenic Training
  23. AROUSAL ENERGIZING STRATEGIES:Team Energizing Strategies, Fan Support
  24. AROUSAL ENERGIZING STRATEGIES:Precompetition Workout, Individual Goal Setting
  25. IMAGERY:Skill Level of the Athletes, Time Factors and Mental Practice
  26. IMAGERY:Symbolic Learning Theory, Imagery Perspective. Sensory Mode
  27. IMAGERY:Paivioís Two-Dimensional Model, Developing Imagery Skills
  28. THE ROLE OF HYPNOSIS IN SPORT:Defining Hypnosis, Social-Cognitive Theory
  29. THE ROLE OF HYPNOSIS IN SPORT:Achieving the Hypnotic Trance, Hypnotic Phase
  30. PSYCHOLOGICAL SKILLS TRAINING:Psychological Skills Training Program
  31. PSYCHOLOGICAL SKILLS TRAINING:Performance profiling, Performance routines
  32. ETHICS IN SPORT PSYCHOLOGY:Competence, Integrity, Social Responsibility
  33. AGGRESSION AND VIOLENCE IN SPORT:Defining Aggression, Catharsis hypothesis
  34. AGGRESSION AND VIOLENCE IN SPORT:The Catharsis Effect, Fan Violence
  35. AUDIENCE AND CROWD EFFECTS IN SPORTS:Social Facilitation, Crowd Hostility
  36. TEAM COHESION IN SPORT:Measurement of Team Cohesion
  37. TEAM COHESION IN SPORT:Predicting Future Participation, Team Building
  38. LEADERSHIP IN SPORT:Fiedlerís Contingency Theory, Coach-Athlete Compatibility
  39. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:Special Populations, Clinical Patients
  40. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:Social Interaction Hypothesis, Amine Hypothesis
  41. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:The Theory of Planned Behavior, Social Cognitive Theory
  42. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:Exercise Addiction, Bulimia Nervosa, Muscle Dysmorphia
  43. BURNOUT IN ATHLETES:Overtraining and Overreaching, Recommended Intervention
  44. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ATHLETIC INJURIES:Personality Factors, Coping Resources
  45. DRUG ABUSE IN SPORT AND EXERCISE:Stimulants, Depressants