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Ironic Processes of Mental Control of Action in Tennis

Title: Ironic Processes of Mental Control of Action in Tennis.
Name(s): Lorusso, Jennifer, author
Eklund, Robert, professor directing thesis
Tenenbaum, Gershon, committee member
Eccles, David, committee member
Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2009
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Wegner's (1994) Ironic Processing Theory is proposed to account for the intentional and counter-intentional effects that result from efforts at mental control. It is predicted that when people try to implement their intentions under adverse conditions, they sometimes find themselves making errors that represent the ironic opposite of what they intended to do. The present study examined ironic effects of mental control of action in the sport environment, specifically with junior tennis players. The main intent of this study was to (a) determine whether certain instructions are more likely to induce mental control, thus affecting athlete performance, and (b) examine whether athletes are more likely to experience ironic effects under conditions of increased pressure. Participants were asked to complete a Pressure Rating Form, indicating on a scale from 1-10, the extent to which they feel pressure to perform. Participants were given four types of instructions before serving. These include the following: "hit the serve out wide," "don't miss the out wide serve," "hit the serve down the t," and "don't miss the down the t serve." Participants were also exposed to a low-pressure and high-pressure condition. Each participant hit a total of 160 serves toward a designated area of the service box. Eighty of these serves were performed under low-pressure, and 80 serves were performed under high-pressure. Of the 80 serves, 40 were first serves and 40 were second serves. For the first service, participants completed two blocks of five serves for each of the four instruction conditions, and did the same for the second service. Results from this study indicated that participants missed more serves when instructed not to miss the serve in a specified location (e.g., "down the t", "out wide"), than when they were told to hit the serve in a specified location. In addition, it was found that more service misses were observed under the high-pressure condition when participants were performing under the "don't" instruction in comparison to the "do" instruction. This result provides support for ironic processing theory's contention that trying not to perform some action under pressure can bring about those exact unwanted actions.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-1037 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Thesis Submitted to the Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester, 2009.
Date of Defense: January 20, 2009.
Keywords: Ironic Processes, Tennis
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory committee: Robert Eklund, Professor Directing Thesis; Gershon Tenenbaum, Committee Member; David Eccles, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Education
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

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Lorusso, J. (2009). Ironic Processes of Mental Control of Action in Tennis. Retrieved from