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Handwriting analysis by profession (muscular control) - Athletes, musicians, etc

Handwriting analysis by profession (muscular control) - Athletes, musicians, etc



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Is there any scientific study on handwriting by profession? In the whole world, the people with the most control of their muscles are athletes. Or pianists, who have extremely good control of their fingers. So perhaps their handwriting will be different from the average person?


Short answer: Not really, because a) handwriting style is generally individual-dependent and not occupation-dependent, and b) the fine-motor skills responsible for handwriting legibility are specific enough to be near-independent of the muscle control that mandates one's success in athletics and/or music.

Detailed answer:

It is probably difficult to say anything definite about the variance in style of handwriting among profession, as handwriting style is something subjective. Furthermore, one's handwriting style is typically well-formed before the time of their occupation.

In terms of the objective nature of handwriting -- i.e. its legibility and general readability -- there tends to be a greater relationship with fine motor coordination. However, even then, the motor coordination is fairly specific to handwriting or letter generation. The ability to generate written text is largely dependent on orthographic-motor integration [1] and finger sequencing. [2] The latter variable may be practiced by musicians or certain athletes in specific sports, but these variables are by-and-large specific to handwriting and letter generation. In general, a greater indicator in how legible one's handwriting will be is how 'automatic' one's handwriting is. Thus, interventions that promote higher orthographic-motor integration tend to improve the 'automaticity' of one's handwriting, thus leading to better legibility and readability in their handwriting. [1] Again, these interventions are specific to handwriting, and general fine-motor skills typically do not affect this area.

You might also be interested to know that there is a field of study called graphology that attempts to analyze handwriting based on personality or personal characteristics, such as profession. However, it is largely regarded as a 'pseudoscientific' field due to its lack of reproducible research thus far. I mention this because a lot of the resources I found when looking up more information on this question came from books on graphology, and so I could not use them as scientific resources. :)


Sources used:

[1] Jones, Dian; Christensen, Carol A. (1999). Relationship between automaticity in handwriting and students' ability to generate written text. Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol 91(1), 44-49.

[2] Berninger, V.W.; B.J. Wolf (2009). Teaching students with dyslexia and dysgraphia: Lessons from teaching and science. Baltimore, Maryland: Paul H. Brooks Publishing Co. pp. 1-240.


Contents

Motor skills are movements and actions of the bone structures. [1] Typically, they are categorised into two groups: gross motor skills and fine motor skills. Gross motor skills are involved in movement and coordination of the arms, legs, and other large body parts. They involve actions such as running, crawling and swimming. Fine motor skills are involved in smaller movements that occur in the wrists, hands, fingers, feet and toes. Specifically, single joint movements are fine motor movements and require fine motor skills. They involve smaller actions such as picking up objects between the thumb and finger, writing carefully, and even blinking. These two motor skills work together to provide coordination.

Through each developmental stage of a child’s life and throughout our lifetime motor skills gradually develop. They are first seen during a child’s development stages: infancy, toddler-hood, preschool and school age. "Basic” fine motor skills gradually develop and are typically mastered between the ages of 6-12 in children. These skills will keep developing with age, practice and the increased use of muscles while playing sports, playing an instrument, using the computer, and writing. If deemed necessary, occupational therapy can help improve overall fine motor skills. [2]

Infancy Edit

The first motor skills, beginning from birth, are initially characterised by involuntary reflexes. [3] The most notable involuntary reflex is the Darwinian reflex, a primitive reflex displayed in various newborn primates species. These involuntary muscle movements are temporary and often disappear after the first two months. After eight weeks, the infant will begin to voluntarily use their fingers to touch. However, their ability to grab objects is still undeveloped at this point.

At two to five months the infant will begin to develop hand-eye coordination, and they will start reaching for and grasping objects. In this way, they improve their overall grasping skills.

In 1952, Piaget found that even before infants are able to reach for and successfully grasp objects they see, they demonstrate competent hand-mouth coordination. A study was done by Philippe Rochat at Emory University in 1992 to test the relation between progress in the control of posture and the developmental transition from two-handed to one-handed engagement in reaching. It was found that the object reached for needed to be controlled. The precision of the reach is potentially maximized when placed centrally. It was also found that the posture needed to be controlled because infants that were not able to sit on their own used bimanual reaches in all postural positions except sitting upright, where they would reach one-handed. As a result, their grasping phases will not have been maximized because of the decrease in body control. On the other hand, if the infant does not have body control, it would be hard for them to get a hold of an object because their reach will be limited. As a result, the infant will just keep falling, stopping them from reaching an object because of no body control. When "nonsitting" infants reached bimanually, while seated upright, they often ended up falling forward, which prevented them from reaching toward the target. Regardless of their ability or lack of ability to control self-sitting, infants are able to adjust their two handed engagement in relation to the arrangement of the objects being reached for. Analysis of hand-to-hand distance during reaching indicates that in the prone and supine posture, non-sitting infants moved their hands simultaneously towards the midline of their bodies as they reached which is not observed by stable sitting infants in any position. Non-sitter infants, although showing strong tendencies toward bimanual reaching, tend to reach with one hand only, when placed in the seated posture. Sitter infants show a majority of differentiated reaches in all posture conditions.

A study conducted by Esther Thelen on postural control during infancy used the dynamic systems approach to observe motor development. The findings suggest that early reaching is constrained by head and shoulder instability. The relationship between posture and reaching cannot be disentangled. Thus, head control and body stability are necessary for the emergence of grasping.

The next developmental milestone is between seven and twelve months, when a series of fine motor skills begins to develop. These include, but are not limited to, increase in grip, enhancement of vision, pointing with the index finger, smoothly transferring objects from one hand to the other, as well as using the pincer grip (with the thumb and index fingers) to pick up tiny objects with precision. A lot of factors change in grasping when the infant becomes seven months. The infant will have better chance of grasping due to the fact that the infant can sit up on their own. Therefore, the infant will not fall over. The infant grasping also changes. The infant starts to hold objects more properly when age increases [4]

Toddler-hood Edit

By the time a child is one year old, their fine motor skills have developed to allow the manipulation of objects with greater intent.

As children manipulate objects with purpose, they gain experience identifying objects based on their shape, size, and weight. By engaging in hands-on play the child learns that some objects are heavy, requiring more force to move them that some are small, easily slipping through the fingers and that other objects come apart and can possibly be put back together again. This type of play is essential for the development of not only the child's fine motor skills, but also for learning how the world works. [5]

It is during this stage in the development of fine motor skills that a toddler will show hand dominance.

Preschool Edit

Children typically attend preschool between the ages of 2 and 5. At this time, the child is capable of grasping objects using the static tripod grasp, which is the combined use of the index, thumb, and middle finger. A preschooler's motor skills are moderate, allowing the child to cut shapes out of paper, draw or trace over vertical lines with crayons, button their clothes, and pick up objects. A preferred hand dominates the majority of their activities. They also develop sensory awareness and interpret their environment by using their senses and coordinate movements based on that. [6]

After the static tripod grasp, the next form is the dynamic tripod grasp. These are shown in a series through Schneck and Henderson's Grip Form chart. Based on the accuracy and form of hold the child will be ranked either from 1-10 or 1-5 of how well they are able to complete the dynamic tripod grasp while properly writing. In conjunction with accuracy and precision the child will be able to properly position a writing utensil in terms of implement diameter as well as form and grip strength. Proper handwriting and drawing fall deeper into a category of graphomotor skills. [7]

The National Center of Teaching and Learning illustrates the abilities that preschoolers should have improved through their fine motor skills in several domains. Children use their motor skills by sorting and manipulating geometric shapes, making patterns, and using measurement tools to build their math skills. By using writing tools and reading books, they build their language and literacy. Arts and crafts activities like cutting and gluing paper, finger painting, and dressing up develops their creativity. Parents can support this development by intervening when the child does not perform the fine motor activity correctly, making use of several senses in a learning activity, and offer activities that the child will be successful with. [6]

Developmental disabilities may render a child incapable of performing certain motor activities, such as drawing or building blocks. [8] Fine motor skills acquired during this stage aids in the later advancement and understanding of subjects such as science and reading. [9] A study by the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, which included twenty-six preschoolers who had received occupational therapy on a weekly basis, showed overall advancements in their fine motor skill area. The results showed a link between in-hand manipulation, eye-hand coordination, and grasping strength with the child's motor skills, self-care and social function. In addition, these children were shown to have better mobility and self-sustainment. [2]

School age Edit

During the ages between 5 and 7 the fine motor skills will have developed to a much higher degree, and are now being refined. As the child interacts with objects the movements of the elbows and shoulders should be less apparent, as should the movements of wrist and fingers. From the ages of 3–5 years old, girls advance their fine motor skills more than boys. Girls develop physically at an earlier age than boys this is what allows them to advance their motor skills at a faster rate during prepubescent ages. Boys advance in gross motor skills later on at around age 5 and up. Girls are more advanced in balance and motor dexterity. [ citation needed ]

Children should be able to make precise cuts with scissors, for example, cutting out squares and holding them in a more common and mature manner. The child's movements should become fluid as the arms and hands become more in sync with each other. The child should also be able to write more precisely on lines, and print letters and numbers with greater clarity. In terms of motor development and athletic performance, pediatric boys [ clarification needed ] tend to be much more physically active than pediatric girls by nature and have a harder time staying still for long periods of time. This is due to the early development of motor skills that occurs in boys faster than it does in girls. During the first 2–3 years of elementary school, gross motor skills are similar among girls and boys with basic skills such as being able to run, jump, and toss a ball. However, boys start to develop more gross motor skills that give them an advantage in activities where girls may still be working on the basics. Boys' high energy and choice to be a part of large groups comes from their gross motor skills being developed. In general, pediatric girls tend to fall behind pediatric boys in terms of advancement of gross motor skills toward the end of elementary school. [10] [Citation 10 does not support the argument that there is a gender divide in motor skills development. In fact, no such citation exists on this page. This section needs to be removed or updated with correct sources.]

Fine motor skills can become impaired due to injury, illness, stroke, congenital deformities, cerebral palsy, or developmental disabilities. Problems with the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, muscles, or joints can also have an effect on fine motor skills, and can decrease control. If an infant or child up to age five is not developing their fine motor skills, they will show signs of difficulty controlling coordinated body movements with the hands, fingers, and face. In young children, the delay in the ability to sit up or learn to walk can be an early sign that there will be issues with fine motor skills. Children may also show signs of difficulty with tasks such as cutting with scissors, drawing lines, folding clothes, holding a pencil and writing, and zipping a zipper. These are tasks that involve fine motor skills, and if a child has difficulty with these they might have poor hand eye coordination and could need therapy to improve their skills.

Fine motor skills can be assessed with standardized and non-standardized tests in children and adults. Fine-motor assessments can include force matching tasks. Humans exhibit a high degree of accuracy in force matching tasks where an individual is instructed to match a reference force applied to a finger with the same or different finger. [11] Humans also exhibit a high degree of accuracy during grip force matching tasks. [12] These aspects of manual dexterity are apparent in the ability of humans to effectively use tools, and perform challenging manipulation tasks such as handling unstable objects. [13] Other assessments include but are not limited to PDMS "The Peabody Developmental Scales". [14] PDMS is an evaluation done for children from birth till the age seven that examines the child's ability to grasp a variety of objects, the development of eye-hand coordination, and the child's overall finger dexterity. [14] Similar to PDMS, Visual-motor integration assessment, VMI-R, is an assessment that examines the visual motor integration system which demonstrates and points out possible learning disabilities that are often related to delays in visual perception and fine-motor skills such as poor hand-eye coordination. [15] Because additionally advancements in mathematics and language skills are directly correlated to the development of the fine motor system, it is essential that children acquire the fine motor skills that are needed to interact with the environment at an early stage. [16] Examples of tests include:


Results

Sample Characteristics: Attrition Rate and Demographics

Intervention Group

Of a total of 104 first-year undergraduate students enrolled on the course, only 13 did not complete the baseline questionnaire (12.5%). Of the 91 students who did, 81 (90%) completed the same questionnaire post-intervention: an attrition rate of only 10%. The mean age of these 81 respondents (37 males, 41 females, 3 undisclosed sex) was 19 years (range 18�, SD = 1.34). Twenty-nine (36.3%) were singers, 19 (23.8%) were string players, 17 (21.3%) were wind and brass players, 11 were pianists (13.8%), three were composers (3.8%), and one was a percussionist (1.3%). The mean number of years they had sung, or played their main instrument, was 9.4 (range 2�, SD = 3.09). They reported carrying out a mean of 14.3 h of personal practice per week (range 0� h, SD = 11.08).

Control Group

Thirty-three third-year undergraduate students (18 male, 14 female, and one who preferred not to disclose their sex) with a mean age of 22 (range 20�, SD = 1.71) completed the questionnaire either online or as hard copy in March𠄺pril 2018. Fifteen were string players (46.9%), six were keyboard players (18.8%), six were wind and brass players (18.8%), three were singers (9.4%), and two were composers (6.3%). Information on main instrument was missing for one respondent. They had played their main instruments for a mean of 12 years (range 7�, SD = 3.16).

Hearing and Use of Hearing Protection

For the purposes of comparing the intervention group with controls, data from all the students who completed to the questionnaire at baseline, including those who did not complete it post-intervention, are shown in Table 1 as numbers and percentages of respondents to each question.

Table 1. Hearing and use of hearing protection.

Use of Hearing Protection

In both groups, minorities of respondents reported using hearing protection “sometimes,” “often” or 𠇊lways” while practicing alone (10% of the intervention group and 9% of controls), and during their own performances (8% of the intervention group and 12% of controls). By contrast, 20% of the intervention group and 30% of controls reported using hearing protection while rehearsing with other people, and 19% of the intervention group and 36% of controls used it while listening to other people's performances. Seventy percent of those who did use hearing protection used reusable soft ear plugs. Of those whose instruments can be muted, 17.5% of the intervention group and 22.2% of controls reported using the mute “often” or 𠇊lways.”

Experiences of Using Hearing Protection

Fifty-six percent of the respondents in the intervention group who used hearing protection, but only 33% of controls, reported having got used to wearing them right away another 33% of controls said it had taken them “weeks/months/years” to get used to them.

Difficulties Using Hearing Protection

The most frequently-reported problems experienced by respondents in the intervention and control groups were a decrease in their ability to hear other players (26.8 and 45.5% respectively). The next most frequently-reported problems were difficulty inserting ear plugs (21.4% of intervention group responses) and hindrance to the player's own performance (33.3% of control group responses). The questionnaire included an invitation to report other problems: responses included “not being able to hear details in the sound” “made listening to my sound more difficult” �n't sing with them in” “I felt isolated and anxious over the sounds I was making and tuning” “I can hear my mouth moving—very distracting” and “hear myself from within my mouth when playing”.

Hearing Issues

Tinnitus was reported by 8% of the intervention group and 21% of controls, and hyperacusis by 6% and 22% respectively. Only one member of the intervention group experienced distortion and no-one reported diplacusis.

Hearing Loss

While only 36% of the intervention group and 47% of controls had had a hearing test in the previous 10 years, only 10% of the former and none of the latter had been diagnosed with hearing loss.

Primary Outcomes

Descriptive and inferential statistics are shown in Table 2 for perceived knowledge and importance of topics covered in the course, and awareness and knowledge of potential risks to health.

Table 2. Perceived knowledge and importance of topics, awareness and knowledge of potential risks.

Perceived Knowledge

There were statistically significant increases from baseline to post-intervention in mean ratings for perceived knowledge of all topics covered in the course: effective practicing strategies (Z = 𢄤.32, p < 0.001) effective rehearsing strategies (Z = 𢄣.84, p < 0.001) learning and memorizing strategies (Z = 𢄢.37, p = 0.01) ergonomics and posture (Z = 𢄢.45, p < 0.01) managing MPA (Z = 𢄤.97, p < 0.001) life skills and behavior change techniques (Z = 𢄣.12, p = 0.002) presentation skills (Z = 𢄢.31, p = 0.02). Small to medium effect sizes associated with these changes varied between r = 0.18 and r = 0.42 (Cohen, 1988). There was a trend such that respondents rated their perceived knowledge, post-intervention, higher than controls on managing MPA (Z = 𢄡.69, p = 0.09) but the difference between means did not reach significance.

Perceived Importance

Respondents rated their knowledge of effective learning and memorizing strategies, post-intervention, higher than controls (Z = 𢄢.07, p = 0.03, η 2 = 0.04), and tended to give higher ratings for the perceived importance of ergonomics and posture (Z = 𢄡.80, p = 0.07) although the difference between means did not reach significance. Otherwise, there were no differences between the ratings of the intervention and control groups, nor changes from baseline to post-intervention.

Awareness of Potential Risks

There was a significant increase from baseline to post-intervention in ratings for one of the three items: awareness of performance factors related to musculoskeletal injuries associated with learning and playing an instrument/singing (Z = 𢄣.09, p = 0.002, r = 0.26). There were no significant differences between the ratings of respondents, post-intervention, and controls.

Knowledge of Potential Risks

There were significant increases from baseline to post-intervention in ratings for both items: knowledge of sound intensity levels associated with hearing loss (Z = 𢄢.09, p = 0.03, r = 0.17) and how to deal with the health and safety issues associated with learning and playing a musical instrument (Z = 𢄥.03, p < 0.001, r = 0.39). There were no significant differences between the ratings of respondents, post-intervention, and controls. There was, however, a trend such that the former rated their knowledge of sound intensity levels higher than the latter (Z = 𢄡.83, p = 0.06), although the difference between means did not reach significance.

Other Primary Outcomes

As shown in Table 3, there were no significant increases from baseline to post-intervention in ratings for responsibility for self-education and prevention of ill-health, or competence to implement recommendations for healthy performance. Nor, for these outcomes, were there any significant differences between the ratings of respondents, post-intervention, and controls.

Table 3. Perceived responsibility and competence.

Secondary Outcomes

Descriptive and inferential statistics are shown in Table 4.

Table 4. Secondary outcomes.

General Health

Means at both baseline and post-intervention were comparable to those obtained previously among musicians, but much lower than values among university students in the UK (Araujo et al., 2017). There were no significant mean differences from baseline to post-intervention, nor between intervention group and controls.

HRQoL

While means at baseline and post-intervention were low, there were nevertheless significant increases in ratings representing sleep problems (Z = 𢄢.77, p = 0.005, r = 0.21), distress (Z = 𢄢.63, p = 0.009, r = 0.20), and lack of vitality (Z = 𢄢.02, p = 0.04, r = 0.15). In comparison with respondents post-intervention, controls experienced more severe depression (Z = 𢄣.58, p < 0.001, η 2 = 0.11), distress (Z = 𢄢.18, p = 0.02, η 2 = 0.04), and lack of vitality (Z = 𢄣.49, p < 0.001, η 2 = 0.10).

Health-Promoting Behaviors

The HPLPII showed acceptable to good internal reliability for the whole scale (Cronbach's alpha = 0.77) and subscales at T1 with the following alphas: HR = 0.83 PA = 0.81 NU = 0.73 SG = 0.84 IR = 0.78 SM = 0.67) and at T2 for the entire scale (alpha = 0.79) and subscales: HR = 0.81 PA = 0.80 NU = 0.75 SG = 0.87 IR = 0.82 SM = 0.72). The grand mean of all scores on HPLPII was 2.53 (SD = 0.36), indicating that respondents reported engaging in health-promoting behaviors “sometimes” or “often” (Kreutz et al., 2008 Panebianco-Warrens et al., 2015 Araujo et al., 2017). Means for the subscales representing health responsibility, physical activity and stress management were lower, and means for the subscales representing nutrition, spiritual growth and interpersonal relations were higher than the grand mean. There were no significant differences in ratings at baseline and post-intervention, nor between those of respondents, post-intervention, and controls (see Table 4 for mean ratings and standard deviations).

Self-Efficacy

The SES scale showed good internal reliabilities at T1 and T2 (Cronbach's alphas = 0.86 and 0.89 respectively). Ratings increased significantly from baseline to post-intervention (Z = 𢄢.52, p < 0.01, r = 0.20), although the grand mean at baseline was only 3.0 (SD = 0.41), lower than found in previous research in the UK (M = 3.57 SD = 0.63: Kreutz et al., 2008) and South Africa (M = 3.89 SD = 0.59: Panebianco-Warrens et al., 2015). There were no significant differences between the ratings of respondents, post-intervention, and controls.

Emotional States

The PANAS scale showed good internal reliabilities at T1 (PA Cronbach's alpha = 0.87 NA = 0.83) and T2 (PA = 0.90 NA = 0.88). Ratings for positive affect decreased significantly from baseline to post-intervention (Z = 𢄤.02, p < 0.001, r = 0.32), although the mean at baseline was 3.89 (SD = 0.65), higher than those reported by Kreutz et al. (2008) and Panebianco-Warrens et al. (2015), which were 3.43 (SD = 0.75) and 3.51 (SD = 0.74) respectively. There was a trend such that ratings for negative affect increased (Z = 𢄡.64, p = 0.09), although significance was not reached once again, the mean at baseline was 1.77 (SD = 0.59), lower than the means reported in the UK and South African research, which were 2.09 (SD = 0.73) and 2.40 (SD = 0.81) respectively. In comparison with respondents post-intervention, controls experienced lower positive affect (Z = 𢄢.30, p = 0.02, η 2 = 0.04) and higher negative affect (Z = 𢄢.68, p < 01, η 2 = 0.06).

Perceived Stress

The PSS scale showed good internal reliability at T1 and T2 (Cronbach's alphas = 0.86 and 0.87 respectively). There was no significant difference between mean ratings at baseline and post-intervention, but in comparison with respondents, post-intervention, controls reported higher levels of stress (Z = 𢄢.28, p < 0.02, η 2 = 0.04).

PRMDs

There were no significant differences between mean ratings representing the frequency and severity of PRMDs at baseline and post-intervention, nor between the ratings of respondents, post-intervention, and controls. Both frequency and severity were comparatively low.

Perceived Exertion

There was a significant decrease from baseline to post-intervention (Z = 𢄣.05, p = 0.002, r = 0.24), although controls reported their daily practice routine to require more (albeit “very light”) effort (Z = 𢄣.22, p < 0.001).

Student Assignments

A total of 103 essays was submitted. Just over half the students chose to write about managing MPA or life skills and behavior change techniques (see Table 5). Less popular topics included injury prevention (including hearing loss), vocal health, practice and memorization strategies and the psychophysical mechanisms of performance and Alexander Technique. Three students wrote about public speaking, and a small minority chose to discuss the health and wellbeing component of the module as a whole.

Table 5. Course topics covered in student assignments.


Imagery and Sport Psychology

Sports psychologists often assist athletes in creating an imagery practice as a means of building their mental toolbox. Imagination, or imagery practice, is a powerful way to enhance a sports performance because it recruits various senses. It is the senses of sight, sound, smell, touch, taste, and vision that create the emotional hooks necessary for an efficient mental movie. The more senses you are able to incorporate into an imagery session, the more powerful the image will work in your favor during competition. For example, a basketball player can create a voice recorded 1-minute free throw visualization program on her smartphone for daily use. Here is an example of a multi-sensory imagery recording:

&ldquoI stand ready at the free throw line. I take a deep breath. I am relaxed. The ball is bounced to me and I hear the bounce. I dribble 3 times. I place my finger on the groove. In my mind, I visualize a swish. I made the free throw. I look at the back of the rim. Set my legs. Set my elbow. Release the ball with a perfect backspin. Swish.&rdquo

Every day, when she listens to this recording and then practices her routine she is aligning her imagination with her outcome. It is a powerful mental tool that can have a major impact on performance. Studies have proven time and time again, that regular use of imagery improves muscle memory and sport-specific skills faster than actual training. Combine mental and physical training and an athlete gains a competitive edge.

Athletics Weekly recently posted an article about imagery written by Steven Roy Mann, who is a sports psychologist and Martial Arts teacher:

&ldquo Imagery is one of the greatest tools used in sports psychology to enhance performance. This is done by enhancing motor skills and muscle memory and it is also used for motivation. Studies have found that practicing imagery, along with regular training, enhances muscle memory and sports skills faster and further than regular training alone. In a competitive world where only the slightest improvement can be the difference between a champion and a runner-up, we need to take all the opportunities that we can to become elite at what we do.

So the question is, how exactly do we as athletes tap into this potential which helps us to excel further? Visualization and mental imagery are easier than you think, but it still requires training before it can be useful.

Mann goes on to explain that 2 factors are important to imagery:

  1. Controllability: Recreating your sport in a few situations
  2. Vividness: Use as many senses as possible to engage more brain and nerve cells.

Mann says that imagery should be done in 3 specific ways:

1. Daily: Only 5 minutes per day.

This is a productive way to gain a competitive edge and it is easy to do with the use of your smartphone. So get started today and create your visual practice!


Ego states

First-order structural model

Berne devised the concept of ego states to help explain how we are made up, and how we relate to others. These are drawn as three stacked circles and they are one of the building blocks of Transactional Analysis. They categorise the ways we think, feel and behave and are called Parent, Adult, and Child. Each ego state is given a capital letter to denote the difference between actual parents, adults and children.

Parent ego state

This is a set of feelings, thinking and behaviour that we have copied from our parents and significant others.

As we grow up we take in ideas, beliefs, feelings and behaviours from our parents and caretakers. If we live in an extended family then there are more people to learn and take in from. When we do this, it is called introjecting and it is just as if we take in the whole of the care giver. For example, we may notice that we are saying things just as our father, mother, grandmother may have done, even though, consciously, we don't want to. We do this as we have lived with this person so long that we automatically reproduce certain things that were said to us, or treat others as we might have been treated.

Adult ego state

The Adult ego state is about direct responses to the here and now. We deal with things that are going on today in ways that are not unhealthily influenced by our past.

The Adult ego state is about being spontaneous and aware with the capacity for intimacy. When in our Adult we are able to see people as they are, rather than what we project onto them. We ask for information rather than stay scared and rather than make assumptions. Taking the best from the past and using it appropriately in the present is an integration of the positive aspects of both our Parent and Child ego states. So this can be called the Integrating Adult. Integrating means that we are constantly updating ourselves through our every day experiences and using this to inform us.

In this structural model, the Integrating Adult ego state circle is placed in the middle to show how it needs to orchestrate between the Parent and the Child ego states. For example, the internal Parent ego state may beat up on the internal Child, saying "You are no good, look at what you did wrong again, you are useless". The Child may then respond with "I am no good, look how useless I am, I never get anything right". Many people hardly hear this kind of internal dialogue as it goes on so much they might just believe life is this way. An effective Integrating Adult ego state can intervene between the Parent and Child ego states. This might be done by stating that this kind of parenting is not helpful and asking if it is prepared to learn another way. Alternatively, the Integrating Adult ego state can just stop any negative dialogue and decide to develop another positive Parent ego state perhaps taken in from other people they have met over the years.

Child ego state

The Child ego state is a set of behaviours, thoughts and feelings which are replayed from our own childhood.

Perhaps the boss calls us into his or her office, we may immediately get a churning in our stomach and wonder what we have done wrong. If this were explored we might remember the time the head teacher called us in to tell us off. Of course, not everything in the Child ego state is negative. We might go into someone's house and smell a lovely smell and remember our grandmother's house when we were little, and all the same warm feelings we had at six year's of age may come flooding back.

Both the Parent and Child ego states are constantly being updated. For example, we may meet someone who gives us the permission we needed as a child, and did not get, to be fun and joyous. We may well use that person in our imagination when we are stressed to counteract our old ways of thinking that we must work longer and longer hours to keep up with everything. We might ask ourselves "I wonder what X would say now". Then on hearing the new permissions to relax and take some time out, do just that and then return to the work renewed and ready for the challenge. Subsequently, rather than beating up on ourselves for what we did or did not do, what tends to happen is we automatically start to give ourselves new permissions and take care of ourselves.

Alternatively, we might have had a traumatic experience yesterday which goes into the Child ego state as an archaic memory that hampers our growth. Positive experiences will also go into the Child ego state as archaic memories. The positive experiences can then be drawn on to remind us that positive things do happen.

The process of analysing personality in terms of ego states is called structural analysis. It is important to remember that ego states do not have an existence of their own, they are concepts to enable understanding. Therefore it is important to say "I want some fun" rather than "My Child wants some fun". We may be in our Child ego state when we say this, but saying "I" reminds us to take responsibility for our actions.

Contamination of Adult state

The word contamination for many conjures up the idea of disease. For instance, we tend to use the word for when bacteria has gone into milk. Well, this is similar to the case with the contaminated Integrating Adult ego state. This occurs when we talk as if something is a fact or a reality when really this is a belief. Racism is an example of this. The Integrating Adult ego state is contaminated in this case by the Parent ego state. If we are white we might have lived with parents or significant others who said such things as "Black people take our jobs". Growing up it is likely, that having no real experience to go by, we believed this. We might also have been told that Black people are aggressive. In our Child ego state may well lodge some scared feelings about Black people and in this ego state we may start to believe "All Black people are scary". This would mean that there would be a double contamination of the Integrating Adult ego state. However, we would think that such statements were facts rather than beliefs and when this happens we say that this is Integrating Adult ego syntonic. That is, they fit with the Integrating Adult ego state and only those people outside of our situation and sometimes outside of our peer group or culture can see that, objectively, such beliefs are just that and therefore they can be changed.


The Effect of Physical Exercise on Anxiety

In this study, the effects of physical exercise to eliminate the anxiety in university youth was investigated. The study covered 311 students who had never involved in physical exercise or any form of physical exercise. They were from 7 different departments of Education Faculty of Konya Selçuk University. State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) by Spielberger was applied to the students. The first 60 who had the highest anxiety scores were determined. Half of 60(30 student) participated in physical exercise while the other 30 were accepted as the control group. Pre, mid and post–test were administered to both the test and control group. Results were estimated by ANOVA. As a result the anxiety level of female students was found to be higher comparison to males’ depending upon the gender. In addition, the results also showed that participation physical exercise and physical activities decreased the anxiety level of both sexes. According to the age, a similar level of anxiety was seen at the beginning. It appeared that these activities had a reduction in anxiety levels of all age categories. The reduction mentioned above was found highest in 19–20 age group. According to fields, the physical exercise activities played a very important role in minimizing the anxiety. This effect was the most reliable on the students of music department. As a result, it has been concluded that physical exercise activities played a very notable role to eliminate anxiety of the university youth.

Key Words: anxiety, physical exercise, university, student, psychology

Introduction
Anxiety is a feeling that exists in people nature. It occurs under irritating conditions. Excess anxiety may result in abnormal functions for the body. Everybody feels different anxiety, and physiological properties play very important roles in this situation(Spilberger, 1996).

Anxiety starts gradually and increases step by step. In case not to be controlled, it rises and irritates the people. The main reasons of anxiety are business travel, smoking, alcohol, over weight, failure, inappropriate physical appearance. Anxiety indications may be bone pains, being tired, headache, nervous, poor sleeping, forgetting, hesitations, hypochondriacs etc(Link,1993).

Anxiety and depression are the leading concerns of college students’ mental health (Rice and Leffert, 1997 Rimmer, Halikas, and Schuckit, 1982 Vredenburg, O’Brien, and Krames, 1988). Attending classes, taking tests, writing papers, and doing homework keep students running into busy schedules, working, nurturing a child, and taking care of other life concerns can create considerable stress and decreases sleeping hours, causes lower attendance rates, drop out, emotional behaviors, alcohol abuse, use of illegal drugs, or violence, lack of interpersonal skills, make unrealistic demands on themselves and others, suffer from motivational problems, and lower grades that impede their success in college (Arthur, 1998, Haines, Norris, and Kashy, 1996 Vredenburg, O’Brien, and Krames, 1988). This type of lifestyle may directly contribute to high levels of anxiety(Bertocci, Hirsch, Sommer, and Williams, 1992 Thompson, Bentz, and Liptzin, 1973).

We should all be aware of the benefits of regular physical activity it can improve our energy levels while we expend calories. It can be as simple to incorporate into our daily lives as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking an extra block instead of riding, or taking a walk after a meal instead of taking a nap. Regular physical exercise can help to prevent and manage coronary heart disease, hypertension, noninsulin-dependent diabetes, osteoporosis, and mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety. And regular physical activity has been associated with lower rates of colon cancer and incidence of stroke.

Physical activity can have a significant effect on mental health. Physically active adults have enhanced self concepts and self esteem, as indicated by increased confidence, assertiveness, emotional stability, independence and self control. Tekin (1997 ) found a significant difference between athlete and non-athlete student according to the scores of physical perception and self-esteem. Tekin (1998) administered a physical exercise programme to some of students participated in same summer camp and had different psychological outcomes from control and exercise group. Moreover, Zorba, Ziyagil and Tekin(1999) exposed the same results in their research that took up the relation between perceived physical competence, physical exercise, sport age and some psychological paramaters.

Doing exercises can eliminate anxiety, tension and stress under pressure conditions. The use of habitual exercise as a stress management technique has the benefits of mood enhancement, increased self-esteem and reduced psychological and physical stress reactions. Further, the greater the skill in exercise, the greater the appreciation of the quality of life and self-discovery through exercise(Berger).

According to Graham, Holt and Parker (1998), physical activities activities such as basketball, tennis, racquetball, weight-lifting, self-defense, and swimming help students to improve and maintain physical, mental health and the quality of lives.

In addition, a moderate-intensity exercise program has been reported to have a beneficial effect on the immune system (Nieman & Pedersen, 1999). Specifically, moderate exercise was found to reduce the number of sick days. Enhancement of immune function may derive from the stress-reducing and stress-hormone-decreasing (i.e., cortisol) benefits of exercise.

Although lower levels of anxiety have been reported for the young who engage in physical exercise (Craft & Landers, 1998 Mutrie and Biddle, 1995), little is known about the effects of exercise on anxiety in youth. Anxiety could be eliminated mainly by uses of physical exercise. The effects of exercise on youth’s anxiety is still less understood. Thus, the present study investigated whether physical exercise reduce the anxiety levels of the university students.

Material and Methods
In these study, male and female students from 7 different departments of Selçuk University, Education Faculty were used. This study covered only 1st and 2nd grade students. State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) by Spielberger was applied to 311 students. The first 60 who had the highest anxiety scores were determined. Half of 60(30 student) participated in physical exercise while the other 30 were accepted as the control group. Pre, mid and post–test were administered to both the experimental and control group. Results were estimated by ANOVA. Test group participated in organized physical activities such as gymnastics, volleyball, athletics for 30 minutes everyday during the six weeks. Mathematical mean, median, top value, standard error, standard deviation, variance, series width, minimum and maximum score values were calculated for each group. Having tested the variance analysis, .05 significance level was accepted and controlled.

Results
The distribution of total students was given in table 1.
Table 1. The distributions of students who were applied to STAI.

Department Total
Student
Respondent Ratio
(%)
Turkish
Language and Literature
126 57 45
Chemistry 123 44 36
History 130 48 37
Geography 113 34 30
Primary
School Teacher
97 19 20
Music 60 51 85
Kids
School
56 48 86
Total 705
311 44

The scores obtained from 311 students who were applied CAT were ranked. According to the test result , 25% of 311(60 student) who got highest anxiety scores were chosen as research group.

Table 2. The distribution of research group according to sex.


Ego states

First-order structural model

Berne devised the concept of ego states to help explain how we are made up, and how we relate to others. These are drawn as three stacked circles and they are one of the building blocks of Transactional Analysis. They categorise the ways we think, feel and behave and are called Parent, Adult, and Child. Each ego state is given a capital letter to denote the difference between actual parents, adults and children.

Parent ego state

This is a set of feelings, thinking and behaviour that we have copied from our parents and significant others.

As we grow up we take in ideas, beliefs, feelings and behaviours from our parents and caretakers. If we live in an extended family then there are more people to learn and take in from. When we do this, it is called introjecting and it is just as if we take in the whole of the care giver. For example, we may notice that we are saying things just as our father, mother, grandmother may have done, even though, consciously, we don't want to. We do this as we have lived with this person so long that we automatically reproduce certain things that were said to us, or treat others as we might have been treated.

Adult ego state

The Adult ego state is about direct responses to the here and now. We deal with things that are going on today in ways that are not unhealthily influenced by our past.

The Adult ego state is about being spontaneous and aware with the capacity for intimacy. When in our Adult we are able to see people as they are, rather than what we project onto them. We ask for information rather than stay scared and rather than make assumptions. Taking the best from the past and using it appropriately in the present is an integration of the positive aspects of both our Parent and Child ego states. So this can be called the Integrating Adult. Integrating means that we are constantly updating ourselves through our every day experiences and using this to inform us.

In this structural model, the Integrating Adult ego state circle is placed in the middle to show how it needs to orchestrate between the Parent and the Child ego states. For example, the internal Parent ego state may beat up on the internal Child, saying "You are no good, look at what you did wrong again, you are useless". The Child may then respond with "I am no good, look how useless I am, I never get anything right". Many people hardly hear this kind of internal dialogue as it goes on so much they might just believe life is this way. An effective Integrating Adult ego state can intervene between the Parent and Child ego states. This might be done by stating that this kind of parenting is not helpful and asking if it is prepared to learn another way. Alternatively, the Integrating Adult ego state can just stop any negative dialogue and decide to develop another positive Parent ego state perhaps taken in from other people they have met over the years.

Child ego state

The Child ego state is a set of behaviours, thoughts and feelings which are replayed from our own childhood.

Perhaps the boss calls us into his or her office, we may immediately get a churning in our stomach and wonder what we have done wrong. If this were explored we might remember the time the head teacher called us in to tell us off. Of course, not everything in the Child ego state is negative. We might go into someone's house and smell a lovely smell and remember our grandmother's house when we were little, and all the same warm feelings we had at six year's of age may come flooding back.

Both the Parent and Child ego states are constantly being updated. For example, we may meet someone who gives us the permission we needed as a child, and did not get, to be fun and joyous. We may well use that person in our imagination when we are stressed to counteract our old ways of thinking that we must work longer and longer hours to keep up with everything. We might ask ourselves "I wonder what X would say now". Then on hearing the new permissions to relax and take some time out, do just that and then return to the work renewed and ready for the challenge. Subsequently, rather than beating up on ourselves for what we did or did not do, what tends to happen is we automatically start to give ourselves new permissions and take care of ourselves.

Alternatively, we might have had a traumatic experience yesterday which goes into the Child ego state as an archaic memory that hampers our growth. Positive experiences will also go into the Child ego state as archaic memories. The positive experiences can then be drawn on to remind us that positive things do happen.

The process of analysing personality in terms of ego states is called structural analysis. It is important to remember that ego states do not have an existence of their own, they are concepts to enable understanding. Therefore it is important to say "I want some fun" rather than "My Child wants some fun". We may be in our Child ego state when we say this, but saying "I" reminds us to take responsibility for our actions.

Contamination of Adult state

The word contamination for many conjures up the idea of disease. For instance, we tend to use the word for when bacteria has gone into milk. Well, this is similar to the case with the contaminated Integrating Adult ego state. This occurs when we talk as if something is a fact or a reality when really this is a belief. Racism is an example of this. The Integrating Adult ego state is contaminated in this case by the Parent ego state. If we are white we might have lived with parents or significant others who said such things as "Black people take our jobs". Growing up it is likely, that having no real experience to go by, we believed this. We might also have been told that Black people are aggressive. In our Child ego state may well lodge some scared feelings about Black people and in this ego state we may start to believe "All Black people are scary". This would mean that there would be a double contamination of the Integrating Adult ego state. However, we would think that such statements were facts rather than beliefs and when this happens we say that this is Integrating Adult ego syntonic. That is, they fit with the Integrating Adult ego state and only those people outside of our situation and sometimes outside of our peer group or culture can see that, objectively, such beliefs are just that and therefore they can be changed.


Notes on Psychology: Definition, Scope and Methods

Psychology is the scientific study of behaviour and mental processes. Behaviour includes all of our outward or overt actions and reactions, such as verbal and facial expressions and movements.

Mental processes refer to all the internal and covert activity of our mind such as thinking, feeling and remembering. It is a scientific study because to study behaviour and mental processes, the psychologists use the scientific methods for understanding more precisely and accurately.

The word Psychology has its origin from two Greek words ‘Psyche’ and ‘Logos’, ‘psyche’ means ‘soul’ and ‘logos’ means ‘study’. Thus literally, Psychology means ‘the study of soul’ or ‘science of soul’.

1. The first definition of the Psychology was the study of the soul:

The earliest attempts at defining Psychology owe their origin to the most mysterious and philosophical concept, namely that of soul. What is soul? How can it be studied? The inability to find clear answers to such questions led some ancient Greek philosophers to define psychology as the study of the mind.

2. In terms of the study of the mind:

Although the word mind was less mysterious and vague than soul, yet it also faced the same questions, namely what is mind? How can it be studied, etc. This definition was also rejected.

3. In terms of the study of consciousness:

The description and explanation of the states of consciousness is the task of Psychology which is usually done by the instrument introspection—process of looking within.

This definition was also rejected on the grounds that:

(i) It could not include the study of the consciousness of animals.

(ii) It would not include subconscious and unconscious activities of mind.

(iii) The introspection method for the study proved that it is most subjective and unscientific method.

4. In terms of the study of behaviour:

The most modern and widely accepted definition of psychology even today, is the study of behaviour, both humans and animals.

In his book An Outline of Psychology, “Psychology is a science which aims to give us better understanding and control of the behaviour of the organism as a whole”.

Psychology is “the science of behaviour” (taking into account the human as well as animal behaviour).

“Psychology is the science and the properly trained psychologist is a scientist, or at least a practitioner who uses scientific methods and information resulting from scientific investigations”.

Science is the body of systematized knowledge that is gathered by carefully observing and measuring events. The observation of events are systematized in various ways but mainly classifying them into categories and establishing general laws and principles to describe and predict events as accurately as possible. Psychology has these characteristics it clearly belongs within the province of science.

Thus it is not simply enough to describe behaviour. Like any other science, psychology attempts to explain, predict, modify and ultimately improve the lives of people in the world in which they live.

By using scientific methods psychologists are able to find answers to questions about the nature of human behaviour that are far more valid and legitimate than those resulting from mere intention and speculation. The experiments and observations which are made can be repeated and verified by others because of its objectivity, reliability, validity and predictability which are the characteristics of basic science.

Scope of Psychology:

The field of psychology can be understood by various subfields of psychology making an attempt in meeting the goals of psychology.

1. Physiological Psychology:

In the most fundamental sense, human beings are biological organisms. Physiological functions and the structure of our body work together to influence our behaviour. Biopsychology is the branch that specializes in the area. Bio-psychologists may examine the ways in which specific sites in the brain which are related to disorders such as Parkinson’s disease or they may try to determine how our sensations are related to our behaviour.

2. Developmental Psychology:

Here the studies are with respect to how people grow and change throughout their life from prenatal stages, through childhood, adulthood and old age. Developmental psychologists work in a variety of settings like colleges, schools, healthcare centres, business centres, government and non-profit organizations, etc. They are also very much involved in studies of the disturbed children and advising parents about helping such children.

3. Personality Psychology:

This branch helps to explain both consistency and change in a person’s behaviour over time, from birth till the end of life through the influence of parents, siblings, playmates, school, society and culture. It also studies the individual traits that differentiate the behaviour of one person from that of another person.

4. Health Psychology:

This explores the relations between the psychological factors and physical ailments and disease. Health psychologists focus on health maintenance and promotion of behaviour related to good health such as exercise, health habits and discouraging unhealthy behaviours like smoking, drug abuse and alcoholism.

Health psychologists work in healthcare setting and also in colleges and universities where they conduct research. They analyse and attempt to improve the healthcare system and formulate health policies.

5. Clinical Psychology:

It deals with the assessment and intervention of abnormal behaviour. As some observe and believe that psychological disorders arise from a person’s unresolved conflicts and unconscious motives, others maintain that some of these patterns are merely learned responses, which can be unlearned with training, still others are contend with the knowledge of thinking that there are biological basis to certain psychological disorders, especially the more serious ones. Clinical psychologists are employed in hospitals, clinics and private practice. They often work closely with other specialists in the field of mental health.

6. Counselling Psychology:

This focuses primarily on educational, social and career adjustment problems. Counselling psychologists advise students on effective study habits and the kinds of job they might be best suited for, and provide help concerned with mild problems of social nature and strengthen healthy lifestyle, economical and emotional adjustments.

They make use of tests to measure aptitudes, interests and personality characteristics. They also do marriage and family counselling, provide strategies to improve family relations.

7. Educational Psychology:

Educational psychologists are concerned with all the concepts of education. This includes the study of motivation, intelligence, personality, use of rewards and punishments, size of the class, expectations, the personality traits and the effectiveness of the teacher, the student-teacher relationship, the attitudes, etc. It is also concerned with designing tests to evaluate student performance. They also help in designing the curriculum to make learning more interesting and enjoyable to children.

Educational psychology is used in elementary and secondary schools, planning and supervising special education, training teachers, counselling students having problems, assessing students with learning difficulties such as poor writing and reading skills and lack of concentration.

8. Social Psychology:

This studies the effect of society on the thoughts, feelings and actions of people. Our behaviour is not only the result of just our personality and predisposition. Social and environmental factors affect the way we think, say and do. Social psychologists conduct experiments to determine the effects of various groups, group pressures and influence on behaviour.

They investigate on the effects of propaganda, persuation, conformity, conflict, integration, race, prejudice and aggression. These investigations explain many incidents that would otherwise be difficult to understand. Social psychologists work largely in colleges and universities and also other organizations.

9. Industrial and Organizational Psychology:

The private and public organizations apply psychology to management and employee training, supervision of personnel, improve communication within the organization, counselling employees and reduce industrial disputes.

Thus we can say that in organizational and industrial sectors not only the psychological effects of working attitude of the employees are considered but also the physical aspects are given importance to make workers feel healthy.

10. Experimental Psychology:

It is the branch that studies the processes of sensing, perceiving, learning, thinking, etc. by using scientific methods. The outcome of the experimental psychology is cognitive psychology which focuses on studying higher mental processes including thinking, knowing, reasoning, judging and decision-making. Experimental psychologists often do research in lab by frequently using animals as their experimental subjects.

11. Environmental Psychology:

It focuses on the relationships between people and their physical and social surroundings. For example, the density of population and its relationship with crime, the noise pollution and its harmful effects and the influence of overcrowding upon lifestyle, etc.

12. Psychology of Women:

This concentrates on psychological factors of women’s behaviour and development. It focuses on a broad range of issues such as discrimination against women, the possibility of structural differences in the brain of men and women, the effect of hormones on behaviour, and the cause of violence against women, fear of success, outsmarting nature of women with respect to men in various accomplishments.

13. Sports and Exercise Psychology:

It studies the role of motivation in sport, social aspects of sport and physiological issues like importance of training on muscle development, the coordination between eye and hand, the muscular coordination in track and field, swimming and gymnastics.

14. Cognitive Psychology:

It has its roots in the cognitive outlook of the Gestalt principles. It studies thinking, memory, language, development, perception, imagery and other mental processes in order to peep into the higher human mental functions like insight, creativity and problem-solving. The names of psychologists like Edward Tolman and Jean Piaget are associated with the propagation of the ideas of this school of thought.

Methods of Psychology:

Psychologists use many scientific methods for research purposes to understand various psychological issues more scientifically. These scientific methods reduce bias and errors in understanding various behavioural aspects.

The relevance of these scientific methods extends beyond testing and evaluating theories and hypotheses in psychology. Though there are many such methods used by psychologists, each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Some of the important methods are:

A. Introspection Method:

Introspection or self-observation may be considered as a old method but it is something we are doing almost constantly in our everyday life. Introspection is a method of studying the consciousness in which the subjects report on their subjective experiences. It is a method that requires long and difficult training. It gives in-depth information about the individual.

In introspection, the subject is taught to achieve a state of “focused attention” in which he can closely observe his own conscious experiences. He will be able to report the smallest possible elements of awareness. Thus the goal of introspection is to learn about the basic building blocks of experience and the principles by which they combine to give us our everyday consciousness.

1. It is not possible to observe one’s own behaviour and at the same time experience it. If such an attempt is made, the experience disappears. Thus the subject has to depend upon memory which itself may be subject to distortions, omissions and commissions.

2. The results obtained from introspection are subjective and so lack scientific validity. They cannot be verified and have to be accepted at face value.

3. The method cannot be used to study children, animals, insane people, feeble­minded and those who are not good at verbal expression.

4. Because experiences are unique, they cannot be repeated and so introspection cannot be repeated.

5. Many experiences are either partly or wholly unconscious and cannot be observed consciously and analyzed.

6. All experiences cannot be verbalized.

B. Observation Method:

This is the most commonly used method especially in relation to behavioural science, though observation as such is common in everyday occurrences, scientific observations are formulated in research places. It is systematically planned, recorded and is subjected to check and control its validity and reliability.

In this method we not only ask the subject to report his experiences but also gather information by direct observation of overt behaviour. When observations are carried out under standardized conditions they should be observed with a careful understanding of the units, that is the style of recording observed information and the selection of dependent or related data of observation concerned, then it is called structured observation. But when observation takes place without these consideration it is called unstructured observation.

Structured observation is useful in descriptive studies, while unstructured observation is useful in exploratory studies. Another way of classifying observation is that of participant and non-participant types of observation. In participant observation the observer makes himself a member of the group which is being observed.

In non-participant observation the observer detaches himself from the group that is being observed. Sometimes, it so happens that the observer may observe in such a way that his presence is unknown to the people he is observing. This is called disguised observation.

The method of participant observation has a number of advantages, the researcher can record natural behaviour of the group and he can gather information which cannot be easily obtained if he stays outside the group, and also he can verify the truth of statements made by the subjects in the context of schedule or questionnaires.

The other way of classifying observation is that of controlled and uncontrolled observations:

a. Uncontrolled observation:

It is that which takes place in natural setting. Here no attempt is made to use precautional instruments or methods. Here the major aim of this type of observation is to get a spontaneous picture of life of the persons.

b. Controlled observation:

In this, behaviour is observed according to definite pre­arranged plans involving experimental procedure. Here mechanical or precision instruments are used to aid accuracy and standardization. This provides formulized data upon which generalizations can be built with considerable accuracy. Generally, controlled observation takes place in various experiments which are carried out in labs under controlled conditions.

1. It is expensive with respect to time and money.

2. The information’s provided by this method is very less or limited.

3. Sometimes, unforeseen factors may interfere with observation.

1. If observation is done accurately, subjective bias is eliminated.

2. The information obtained under this method relates to current happenings. Either past behaviours or future intensions, do not complicate it.

3. This method is independent of the subject willingness to respond and so does not require active participation of the subject. Because of this, the method is especially suitable to subjects which are not capable of giving verbal reports of their thoughts and feelings.

Naturalistic observation method which is the systematic study of behaviour in natural settings, can be used to study the behaviour of animals which are in wild or in captivity. Psychologists use naturalistic observation whenever people happen to be at home, on playgrounds, in classrooms and offices.

In observation method of studies, it is important to count or measure the behaviour. Careful record-keeping ensures accuracy and allows different observers to crosscheck their observations. Crosschecking is necessary to make sure that observations are reliable or consistent from person to person.

C. Experimental Method:

The experimental method is most often used in laboratory. This is the method of observation of the behaviour or the ability of the individual under controlled condition or fixed circumstances. It is the performing of an experiment that is a tightly controlled and highly structured observation of variables.

The experimental method allows researchers to infer causes. An experiment aims to investigate a relationship between two or more factors by deliberately producing a change in one factor and observing its effect on other factors. The person who conducts the experiment is called the experimenter and the one who is being observed is called the subject.

An experiment begins with a problem. Problem is the relationship which experimenter wishes to study between two or more variables. Then a hypothesis is formed it is a suggested answer to the problem under investigation, based on the knowledge that existing in the field of study. To test the hypothesis, relationship between variables is examined. Variables are the factors that can change.

There will be two variables. An independent variable is a variable that the experimenter selects. He can control this variable according to the requirements of the experiment. The dependent variable is the factor that varies with the change in the independent variable that is subject’s behaviour.

Experimenters will not wait for the behaviour to occur in nature rather the behaviour will be created in situation by presenting a stimuli to the organism. The behaviour that occurs will be co-related with the stimulus.

From this, it is possible to predict the nature and types of response or responses that may occur to a given stimulus. The changes observed in the dependent variable may be influenced by a number of factors. To establish a clear-cut relationship between a stimulus and response, all other possible influences must be eliminated.

Conditions of Experimental Study:

If experiment has to be successful, the subjects (patients/clients) must be selected carefully. This is called sampling. A random sample is one where every member of the population has an equal chance of being selected. When this is not the case, the sample is said to be biased sample (manipulated). A random sample of entire population is not always necessary or even desirable.

For instance, an experimenter may begin by conducting experiment on a particular population and then repeat the experiment on broader or more representative samples. Once the experiment has been conducted, the results have to be summarized and a conclusion drawn.

a. Control group provides a base line against which the performance of experimental group can be composed.

b. The group that receives the experimental treatment is called the experimental group (The group that receives no treatment is called the control group).

1. The situation in which the behaviour is studied is always an artificial one.

2. Complete control of the extraneous variables is not possible.

3. All types of behaviour cannot be experimented.

4. Experimental method requires a laboratory and is expensive.

5. We cannot accumulate information from abnormal people using this method.

1. The results are clear and straight forward.

2. The results are usually expressed in terms of numbers which makes it convenient for comparison of performance and analysis.

3. The experiment can be replicated by other researches and verified.

4. Highly dependable cause-effect relationships can be established.

D. Case Study (History) Method:

It is a detailed description of a particular individual. It may be based on careful observation or formal psychological testing. It may include information about the person’s childhood dreams, fantasies, experiences, relationships and hopes that throw light into the person’s behaviour.

Case studies depend on client’s memories of the past and such memories are highly reliable to understand the problems. As case studies focus on individuals, so we cannot generalize about human behaviour.

E. Questionnaire Method:

Questionnaire is an instrument of data collection. It is a method of data collection through which both qualitative as well as quantitative data can be collected by formulating a set of interrelated questions.

A questionnaire consists of a number of questions printed or typed in a definite order, one set of forms to which the respondents are supposed to answer unaided, by writing the answers in the space provided for the purpose. Where this questionnaire is mailed to the respondents instead of directly administering it is called a mailed questionnaire.

This method of data collection is especially popular when large scale enquiries have to be made. The questionnaire is sent to the person concerned with a request to answer the questions. It consists of a number of questions printed in a definite order which the respondents have to answer. It is considered as the heart of survey operation. In order to construct a good comprehensive questionnaire, some points have to be kept in mind.

3. Question formulation and wording.

This refers to whether the questionnaire is ‘unstructured’ or ‘structured’. Questionnaire which include definite, concrete and predetermined questions and highly structured questionnaire is one in which all questions and answers are specified and comments by the respondents are held to the minimum.

In an unstructured questionnaire the researcher is presented with a general guide on the type of information to be obtained, but the exact question formulation is not set. Thus the structured questionnaires are simple to administer and relatively inexpensive to analyze.

2. The question sequence:

In order to make a questionnaire effective the question sequence must be clear and should have smooth flow. The relation of one question to another should be readily apparent to the respondent.

The first few questions are particularly important, because they are likely to influence the attitude of the respondent. Questions which are causing very much strain on the memory, personal questions and questions related to personal wealth, etc. should be avoided.

3. Question formulation and wording:

Each question must be clear because any kind of misunderstanding can harm the survey. Questions must be impartial and constructed to the study, the true state of affairs. They should be simple, easily understood and concrete. They should convey only one thought at a time. They should conform as much as possible to the respondent’s way of thinking.

1. The method can only be used when respondents are literate and cooperative.

2. The questionnaire is not flexible because there is no possibility of changing the questions to suit the situation.

3. There is possibility of ambiguous responses or omission of responses to some questions.

4. Interpretation of omissions is difficult.

5. It is difficult to know whether the sample is really representative.

1. When the sample is large, the questionnaire method is economical.

2. It is free from the bias of the interviewer.

3. Respondents have adequate time to give well though-out answers.

4. Large samples can be used and so the results can be made dependable and reliable.

F. Interview Method:

This involves collection of data by having a direct verbal communication between two people. Personal interviews are popular but telephone interviews can also be conducted as well. This method is also called face to face method.

In personal interviews an interviewer asks questions generally in a face to face contact with the person being interviewed. In direct personal interview, the investigator collects information directly from the sources concerned. This has to be used when intensive investigation is required.

But in some cases, an indirect examination is conducted where the interviewer cross-examines other persons who are supposed to have knowledge about the problem under investigation. This is used where ever it is not possible to directly contact the required person to be interviewed.

a. Structured interview involves the use of predetermined questions and standardized techniques of recording. The interviewer follows a rigid procedure asking questions in a framed prescribed order.

b. Unstructured interview is flexible in its approach to questioning. Here it does not follow the system of predetermined questions and standardized techniques of recording the data. Here the interviewer is allowed much greater freedom to ask supplementary questions or to omit some questions if required and he may change the sequence of questions.

He also has a freedom while recording responses, whether to include some aspects and exclude others. This may lead to lack of comparability and also difficult in analyzing the responses.

Other types of interviews are:

iii. Non-directive interview.

In focused interviews the attention is paid on a given experience, and its effects on the respondent. This is generally used in developing the hypotheses and constitutes a major type of unstructured interview.

ii. Clinical interview:

In clinical interviews concern is given to the feelings or motivations of individuals life experiences. Here the interviewer simply encourages the respondent to talk about the given topic with a minimum of direct questioning.

iii. Non-directive interview:

The researcher acts as a catalyst to a comprehensive expression of the subject’s feelings, belief and of the frame, of reference within which such feelings which are expressed by the subjects personal significance.

1. It is a very expensive method.

2. Interviewer bias as well as respondents bias may operate while gathering information.

3. Certain types of respondents may not be available for interviews.

4. This method is relatively time consuming.

5. Because the interviewer is present on the spot, the respondent may become overstimulated and give imaginary information just to make the interview more interesting.

6. Selecting, training and supervising the field staff is very complex.

1. More information about the subject can be obtained in greater depth. The interviewer can obtain a perfect idea about the subject through other means of assessing. As the person is directly accessible he can use other means of communication to assess the individual.

2. First hand information can be collected about the subject’s background, economic and educational considerations.

3. The overall personal aspect of an individual can also be assessed.

G. Survey Method:

This method involves in asking large numbers of individuals to complete the given questionnaires or through interviews by interviewing people directly about their experiences, attitudes or opinions.

That is for example, survey on healthcare reform, or economic reform, voting preferences prior to elections, consumer reactions to various products, health practices, public opinion and complaints with safety regulations and so on. Surveys are often repeated over long period of time in order to trace the shifts in public opinion. Surveys can provide highly accurate prediction when conducted carefully.

H. Testing Method:

This method makes use of carefully devised and standardized tests for measuring attitudes, interest, achievement, intelligence and personality traits. Intelligence tests measure the intellectual capacity of an individual and achievement tests through light on achievement of student in various subjects they are studying.

So by adopting all these methods, psychology collects information about behaviour, which helps us to study the behaviour systematically. There are the different methods used in psychology to study the behaviour.


Why are Psychological Skills Important for Athletes?

Is physical practice the only component of your training program? How do you learn to maximize your performance or even to be a consistent performer? Athletes and coaches always think they must only practice longer and harder - they are reluctant to include psychological tools in their training and performance regime.

To be a better athlete does not necessarily mean that you must train harder or longer. It could mean that you need to address all the components that make up a successful athletic performance - mental as well as physical. Since you do not enter into competition with a completely empty head, you must include mental skills in your training and conditioning programmes as well. This will enable you to develope the strategies which will prepare you to enter a competition with the &ldquoproper mindset&rdquo

If you are interested in getting the most of your athletic endeavors, you can no longer treat your performance as a combination of isolated factors which come together in some mysterious and unified way on the day of the competition. A long distance athlete would never think to enter a long distance race without spending time physically preparing the body to meet the conditioning demands of a race. Yet, most athletes probably enter a race without determining what psychological skills he or she would need to help achieve the best physical performance. Almost no one prepares and practices the necessary mental conditions.

As the science of sport performance evolves, it becomes increasingly important to integrate the mental and physical aspect of performance. Traditionally, no attention has been given to the cognitive aspects of performance. Coaches and athletes have devoted most of their attention to the physical components of performance.

Yet coaches, athletes and parents often attribute non- performance to things related to the mental aspects of performance such as &ldquoShe was not hungry enough,&rdquo &ldquoHe did not focus,&rdquo &ldquoI was so tense or I was psyched out,&rdquo &ldquoShe is so good but she cannot handle the competition stress,&rdquo &ldquoI was so scared. &rdquo &ldquoI wasn&rsquot psyched enough.&rdquo These are all comments frequently used to describe competitive disappointments, but rarely do you find a coach who says that the athlete has not been taught the proper psychological skills and strategies.

An athlete seldom realizes that the failure to achieve was related to poor or inadequate preparation of psychological strategies. After a competition the greatest percentage of excuses are generally attributed to the mental and emotional aspects of the game. Yet, almost no time is spent in incorporating these into the training routine. Rather, it is a case of back to the drawing board for a new physical strategy or increased practice time.

It is much easier to evaluate cardiovascular or mechanical differences between athletes than it is to evaluate different athletic &ldquomindsets&rdquo and psychological aspects around performance. Why is it that performance differs from practice to a competition? Improving performance is not accomplished by isolating the body from the mind but by providing cognitive skills and strategies that deal with skilled performance.

There are no marked changes in physical capacity, in skill level or biomechanical efficiency during a competition or between two competitions which immediately follow each other. An athlete does not suddenly lose or gain stamina, talent, skill or speed in a day, week, month or sometimes even years. What does change is psychological control or mindset. When an athlete loses momentum or gains momentum, the change is created by psychological and emotional factors. He or she can gain or lose psychological control or get psyched out in split seconds, or what psychologists sometimes call &ldquochocking.&rdquo Choking can occur in close competitive situations where psychological frame of reference interferes with skill execution.

This fluctuation in psychological regulation can be prevented by developing cognitive skills and strategies to manage anxiety, stress, negative thoughts and emotions - in other words, to help the athlete to cope with negative stimuli from the external world. An athlete must learn to take responsibility for recognizing their own arousal mechanism and to perform with it under control. This will establish cognitive behaviour which in turn will allow him to perform in a constant manner. Sometimes athletes blame the coach, parents, fans or the weather when things go wrong or if they don&rsquot perform up to their potential. But it is the athlete&rsquos own psychological mindset that controls performance.

It takes time to develop and optimize the individual behavioural skills necessary to maximize athletic performance. A plan A, B, or C or a one day lecture will not be enough. One requires training on a regular, systematic basis to develope and apply the correct skills. Psychological training should incorporate methods and techniques which teach one how to interpret what is happening to you and why. Then in the following order, how to cope with whatever is happening to and around you how to cope with whatever you encounter how to make decisions based on relevant cues and how to persist despite what is happening with you and to you. In short you need to learn the cognitive skills and strategies that are necessary for controlling sport performance and the environment. These skills are not concomitant learning that just happens when playing, practicing or during competition. In today&rsquos world, each of us is responsible for controlling our own behaviour. We can no longer transfer the responsibility or excuse for failures to others or to some mysterious factor.

It is no longer appropriate to talk in psychological terms as if knowledgeable in psychology if we do not make some effort to become informed and educated in this area. This is a problem with many coaches. It is unreasonable to continue contributing shortcomings in performance to psychological factors and not to do something about it. The days of coaching and/or performing through &ldquohope&rdquo are no longer appropriate or effective. There are brilliant techniques and strategies in the field of sport psychology that enable us to control and monitor our behaviour in sport. By using these techniques we can develop consistent performance and maximize our potential.

It stands to reason that no athlete performs correctly and perfectly all the time. However, you can be taught to analyze your own thoughts and behaviour so that you can recognize the cause of performance inconsistencies. The athlete that is taught to work toward consistent control over behaviour learns to analyze and determine the factors that influence it. In order to develop a sport-psychological skill strategy for control of behaviour, situations that are characteristic of the specific sport and the required behaviour for that specific sport must be understood. Once the athlete understands the behavioural demands being placed on him, he can cope better with these demands.

An athlete who competes competitively faces stressful situations and anxious moments hundreds of times over the course of a competitive career. You don&rsquot have to be a professional athlete to experience those anxious moments when your hearts starts pounding, your hands are sweaty and you feel weak in the knees. Regardless how many times you have been in the situation, you still react in the same way. In other words, experience is not always the best teacher.

Moments of panic, anxiety and emotional ups and downs can interfere with the physical performance at every level. Athletes, who continue to perform with some degree of consistency despite of their feelings of anxiety, have learned to cope in one way or another. Relatively few of us, however, have been taught skills and strategies that would enable us to cope and maintain consistency in performance. Athletes have been helped with their physical skills and strategies, but few have attempted to help them with the development of the mental side of sport and sport performances.

Many athletes with superior physical capabilities have been systematically eliminated from competitive sports because they could not perform on the day of the competition. They might perform beautifully in practice but &ldquochoke&rdquo in competition. Coaches, parents and teachers have pulled their hair out over athletes who do things so correctly in practice for an entire week and on the day of competition just couldn&rsquot do it again. Why do these things happen? Has it happened to you? What can you do to try to prevent these situations from repeating themselves year after year, season after season? What can we do to help an athlete who is physically talented but who does not appear to be able to perform on the big day. How can an athlete help himself or herself to perform consistently?

Many people feel having someone to teach psychological skills to an athlete means that the athlete is unstable, or has &ldquomental problems&rdquo or is &ldquototally mad.&rdquo There is a feeling among coaches and even some athletes is that psychologists are people who provide help to those who are disturbed or maladjusted. They would never consider that a &ldquonormal&rdquo athlete has the need of positive cognitive assistance of someone trained in psychology and specifically sport psychology. Further, many coaches want only tough minded athletes and they do not want what they think are &ldquohead cases.&rdquo Coaches have eliminated athletes who had all the necessary physical assets because they did not appear to be able to perform with any degree of consistency or because they &ldquochoked&rdquo under pressure. They have never stopped to ask if certain skills could be taught to these athletes which would enable them to use their physical abilities even more effectively.

I think that some athletes and coaches think that an athlete does not need this mental training. They are much like Avis, the Number 2 car rental agency who just &ldquotries harder!&rdquo Trying harder is not always the solution in many cases trying harder creates even greater problems. You may think that going back to the fundamentals and practicing harder and longer is the only solution to inconsistent performance. Frequently, longer and harder practices are used as punishment for not performing up to your expectations or to the coach&rsquos. Obviously, too much emphasis has been placed on the physical aspect of sport performance without understanding all the components of psychological or the cognitive part of performance.

No one can dispute the fact that the state of mind has a lot to do with performance. Yet almost nothing has been done to identify the emotional and/or mental factors that tend to prevent good performance any more than trying to identify those factors that produce poor performance. Basically what sport psychology does for the athlete is to teach her/him how to identify the factors that lead to good performance and those that lead to poor performance. This provides a basis for understanding why an athlete performs well or inconsistently. The athlete will not have to say &ldquoI had a good competition&rdquo or &ldquoI had an off-day,&rdquo he or she will be able to analyze why it was a good or bad competition.

If you were told that the body and mind do not interact, you would most likely disagree. Examples to demonstrate how this interaction occurs such as experiencing fear and having the perception of fear being accompanied by sweating, increased heart rate, altered breathing, feelings of muscular weakness and nausea. Our bodies are a highly complex entity composed of a multitude of different, yet highly, integrated, biological systems which promote effective interaction between our internal and external environments. These highly different systems are integrated and monitored by the nervous system. This nervous system is anatomically divided into the central and the peripheral nervous systems. The brain and spinal cord compose the central nervous system the network of nerves connecting the various organs and systems of the body to the central nervous system makes up the peripheral nervous system.

Thought and memory are the responsibility of the central nervous system. However, the entire nervous system allows the body to interpret consciously and unconsciously to our external and internal environments. Some nerves are specialized for sight, smell, touch, temperature, pain etc., but the entire nervous system coordinates bodily responses to the internal and external environments. In sport, as well as all other situations, a combination of reactions occurs. Some of these reactions are at the conscious level while others may occur at a subconscious level.

So the truth is that our muscles do not function unless directed to do so by the brain. We do not perform physical skills in isolation without mental skills. Sport performance must be approached from a holistic perspective to integrate the&rdquo thinking with our muscles&rdquo to produce high levels of performance.

Hardly anyone disputes the fact that your mental state has a great deal to do with your physical performance. We all know that worry, negative emotions and anxiety about your performance can cause sub-par performance. One of the ways to avoid this and prepare the &ldquowhole&rdquo person is through holistic coaching and preparation. That is, to incorporate physical and mental skills and strategies in practice and performance of any talented athlete. After an athlete becomes aware of how this relationship affects performances, he or she will be ready to learn skills and strategies to help control factors like worry and anxiety.

An Olympic champion said he choked terribly in his first Olympic Games. &ldquoI had worked very hard but wasn&rsquot mentally prepared.&rdquo In his preparation for the next Olympic Games he talked with other Olympic champions about how they had prepared mentally and he employed sport psychology strategies, ultimately developing his own mental training programme. He practiced his programme regularly for the next four years and credits this for his gold medal performance at the next Olympic Games.

The vast majority of elite athletes recognize the importance of psychological training for competition. Sport performances are 90% mental, and many great athletes also credit the mental side of the game as crucially important in determining the outcome. These athletes know the importance of physical skill and preparation. What they mean when they stress the psychological preparation as extremely important, is that once athletes have developed their physical skills to a high level and when they are competing at that level, is that the winner is more likely to be the person who is best prepared psychologically. Coaches also recognize the significance of being mentally prepared in order to compete well. Yet many coaches remain reluctant to send their athletes to a sport psychologist. So, if the mental side of the game accounts for 90 percent of the outcome or only 50 percent, or even only 10 percent, doesn&rsquot it make sense to devote at least some time to mental training?

Why is sport psychology neglected? The answer is most likely that coaches do not know how to teach athletes the essential psychological skills. There are also coaches that are of the opinion that psychosocial qualities are innate characteristics that cannot be taught. Some of them think that athletes either have these psychological qualities or that they don&rsquot. If they don&rsquot, then competition will eliminate them as they compete at higher and higher levels. A few coaches also believe that psychological training is unimportant and that only hard physical work is necessary to prepare athletes.

Nowadays the vast majority of coaches, parents and teachers recognize the importance of psychological training, but simply do not know how to implement such training.

Some athletes and coaches feel that it is a waste of time to practice these skills and think that just developing an awareness of the relationship of anxiety and performance is sufficient. It should be emphasized again and again that only practice on a regular basis can attain the skill. Once all psychological skills are learnt, they are incorporated into regular practice sessions and then into competitions, without a specified time being set aside for their practice. As athletes begin to acquire the skills, many of the responses are subtle. Most athletes are not aware of them unless they are really &ldquotuned in&rdquo to their bodies. At the same time, the practices scheduled for mental skills should be short compared to the physical practices. It is important to practice for short periods of time and on a regular basis.

In short, like most other things, the more you use it appropriately, the better you will become. With time the responses practiced and the psychological skills and strategies learnt become automatic. Eventually, this type of behavioural responses becomes a way of life. It comes a way of responding to a particular situation in a more effective, positive, controlled way. These more conducive responses will help to realize your potential in whatever you pursue. Sport psychological principles are the same for regulating your awareness and managing your worries about performance whether it is on the athletic field, being interviewed for a job, taking an examination, public speaking, acting or giving a musical performance on stage. Learning these sport psychological skills will last you a lifetime and allow you to enjoy your performance much more at a much higher level than you have previously attained.


Tier 1 and Tier 2 early intervention for handwriting and composing

Three studies evaluated Tier 1 early intervention for handwriting at a critical period for literacy development in first grade and one study evaluated Tier 2 early intervention in the critical period between third and fourth grades for composing on high stakes tests. The results contribute to knowledge of research-supported handwriting and composing instruction that informs practice as school psychologists are empowered to embrace the role of intervention specialist. The first study found that neurodevelopmental training (orthographic-free motor activities and motor-free orthographic activities) led to improved accuracy and legibility of letter formation, but that direct handwriting instruction with visual cues and verbal mediation led to improved automatic handwriting (rate of writing legible letters) and transfer to improved word reading. The second study found that neither motor training nor orthographic training alone added value to direct instruction in automatic letter writing and composing practice in developing handwriting skills, which transferred to improved word reading but the added motor training did improve performance on a grapho-motor planning task for sequential finger movements that is relevant to composing. A related analysis showed that direct instruction with visual cues and memory delays may reduce reversals. A third study found that adding handwriting to reading instruction improved handwriting but did not add value to reading outcomes for at risk readers reading instruction alone was beneficial for word reading, decoding, and comprehension. The fourth study showed that comprehensive, explicit instruction in the processes of composition led to more significant improvement, based on group and individual data, than did the regular fourth grade program, on high stakes writing assessment.


Contents

Max Wertheimer (1880–1943), Kurt Koffka (1886–1941), and Wolfgang Köhler (1887–1967) founded Gestalt psychology in the early 20th century. [10] The dominant view in psychology at the time was structuralism, exemplified by the work of Hermann von Helmholtz (1821–1894), Wilhelm Wundt (1832–1920), and Edward B. Titchener (1867–1927). [11] [12] Structuralism was rooted firmly in British empiricism [11] [12] and was based on three closely interrelated theories: (1) "atomism," also known as "elementalism," [12] the view that all knowledge, even complex abstract ideas, is built from simple, elementary constituents, (2) "sensationalism," the view that the simplest constituents—the atoms of thought—are elementary sense impressions, and (3) "associationism," the view that more complex ideas arise from the association of simpler ideas. [12] [13] Together, these three theories give rise to the view that the mind constructs all perceptions and even abstract thoughts strictly from lower-level sensations that are related solely by being associated closely in space and time. [11] The Gestaltists took issue with this widespread "atomistic" view that the aim of psychology should be to break consciousness down into putative basic elements. [7] In contrast, the Gestalt psychologists believed that breaking psychological phenomena down into smaller parts would not lead to understanding psychology. [9] The Gestalt psychologists believed, instead, that the most fruitful way to view psychological phenomena is as organized, structured wholes. [9] They argued that the psychological "whole" has priority and that the "parts" are defined by the structure of the whole, rather than vice versa. One could say that the approach was based on a macroscopic view of psychology rather than a microscopic approach. [14] Gestalt theories of perception are based on human nature being inclined to understand objects as an entire structure rather than the sum of its parts. [15]

Wertheimer had been a student of Austrian philosopher, Christian von Ehrenfels (1859–1932), a member of the School of Brentano. Von Ehrenfels introduced the concept of Gestalt to philosophy and psychology in 1890, before the advent of Gestalt psychology as such. [16] [11] Von Ehrenfels observed that a perceptual experience, such as perceiving a melody or a shape, is more than the sum of its sensory components. [11] He claimed that, in addition to the sensory elements of the perception, there is something extra. Although in some sense derived from the organization of the component sensory elements, this further quality is an element in its own right. He called it Gestalt-qualität or "form-quality." For instance, when one hears a melody, one hears the notes plus something in addition to them that binds them together into a tune – the Gestalt-qualität. It is this Gestalt-qualität that, according to von Ehrenfels, allows a tune to be transposed to a new key, using completely different notes, while still retaining its identity. The idea of a Gestalt-qualität has roots in theories by David Hume, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Immanuel Kant, David Hartley, and Ernst Mach. Both von Ehrenfels and Edmund Husserl seem to have been inspired by Mach's work Beiträge zur Analyse der Empfindungen (Contributions to the Analysis of Sensations, 1886), in formulating their very similar concepts of gestalt and figural moment, respectively. [16]

By 1914, the first published references to Gestalt theory could be found in a footnote of Gabriele von Wartensleben's application of Gestalt theory to personality. She was a student at Frankfurt Academy for Social Sciences, who interacted deeply with Wertheimer and Köhler. [17]

Through a series of experiments, Wertheimer discovered that a person observing a pair of alternating bars of light can, under the right conditions, experience the illusion of movement between one location and the other. He noted that this was a perception of motion absent any moving object. That is, it was pure phenomenal motion. He dubbed it phi ("phenomenal") motion. [16] [18] Wertheimer's publication of these results in 1912 [19] marks the beginning of Gestalt psychology. [18] In comparison to von Ehrenfels and others who had used the term "gestalt" earlier in various ways, Wertheimer's unique contribution was to insist that the "gestalt" is perceptually primary. The gestalt defines the parts from which it is composed, rather than being a secondary quality that emerges from those parts. [18] Wertheimer took the more radical position that "what is given me by the melody does not arise . as a secondary process from the sum of the pieces as such. Instead, what takes place in each single part already depends upon what the whole is", (1925/1938). In other words, one hears the melody first and only then may perceptually divide it up into notes. Similarly, in vision, one sees the form of the circle first—it is given "im-mediately" (i.e., its apprehension is not mediated by a process of part-summation). Only after this primary apprehension might one notice that it is made up of lines or dots or stars.

The two men who served as Wertheimer's subjects in the phi experiments were Köhler and Koffka. Köhler was an expert in physical acoustics, having studied under physicist Max Planck (1858–1947), but had taken his degree in psychology under Carl Stumpf (1848–1936). Koffka was also a student of Stumpf's, having studied movement phenomena and psychological aspects of rhythm. In 1917, Köhler (1917/1925) published the results of four years of research on learning in chimpanzees. Köhler showed, contrary to the claims of most other learning theorists, that animals can learn by "sudden insight" into the "structure" of a problem, over and above the associative and incremental manner of learning that Ivan Pavlov (1849–1936) and Edward Lee Thorndike (1874–1949) had demonstrated with dogs and cats, respectively.

The terms "structure" and "organization" were focal for the Gestalt psychologists. Stimuli were said to have a certain structure, to be organized in a certain way, and that it is to this structural organization, rather than to individual sensory elements, that the organism responds. When an animal is conditioned, it does not simply respond to the absolute properties of a stimulus, but to its properties relative to its surroundings. To use a favorite example of Köhler's, if conditioned to respond in a certain way to the lighter of two gray cards, the animal generalizes the relation between the two stimuli rather than the absolute properties of the conditioned stimulus: it will respond to the lighter of two cards in subsequent trials even if the darker card in the test trial is of the same intensity as the lighter one in the original training trials.

In 1921, Koffka published a Gestalt-oriented text on developmental psychology, Growth of the Mind. With the help of American psychologist Robert Ogden, Koffka introduced the Gestalt point of view to an American audience in 1922 by way of a paper in Psychological Bulletin. It contains criticisms of then-current explanations of a number of problems of perception, and the alternatives offered by the Gestalt school. Koffka moved to the United States in 1924, eventually settling at Smith College in 1927. In 1935, Koffka published his Principles of Gestalt Psychology. This textbook laid out the Gestalt vision of the scientific enterprise as a whole. Science, he said, is not the simple accumulation of facts. What makes research scientific is the incorporation of facts into a theoretical structure. The goal of the Gestaltists was to integrate the facts of inanimate nature, life, and mind into a single scientific structure. This meant that science would have to accommodate not only what Koffka called the quantitative facts of physical science but the facts of two other "scientific categories": questions of order and questions of Sinn, a German word which has been variously translated as significance, value, and meaning. Without incorporating the meaning of experience and behavior, Koffka believed that science would doom itself to trivialities in its investigation of human beings.

Having survived the Nazis up to the mid-1930s, [20] all the core members of the Gestalt movement were forced out of Germany to the United States by 1935. [21] Köhler published another book, Dynamics in Psychology, in 1940 but thereafter the Gestalt movement suffered a series of setbacks. Koffka died in 1941 and Wertheimer in 1943. Wertheimer's long-awaited book on mathematical problem-solving, Productive Thinking, was published posthumously in 1945, but Köhler was left to guide the movement without his two long-time colleagues. [22]

Gestalt therapy Edit

Gestalt psychology should not be confused with the Gestalt therapy, which is only peripherally linked to Gestalt psychology. The founders of Gestalt therapy, Fritz and Laura Perls, had worked with Kurt Goldstein, a neurologist who had applied principles of Gestalt psychology to the functioning of the organism. Laura Perls had been a Gestalt psychologist before she became a psychoanalyst and before she began developing Gestalt therapy together with Fritz Perls. [23] The extent to which Gestalt psychology influenced Gestalt therapy is disputed, however. In any case it is not identical with Gestalt psychology. On the one hand, Laura Perls preferred not to use the term "Gestalt" to name the emerging new therapy, because she thought that the Gestalt psychologists would object to it [24] on the other hand Fritz and Laura Perls clearly adopted some of Goldstein's work. [25] Thus, though recognizing the historical connection and the influence, most Gestalt psychologists emphasize that Gestalt therapy is not a form of Gestalt psychology.

Mary Henle noted in her presidential address to Division 24 at the meeting of the American Psychological Association (1975): "What Perls has done has been to take a few terms from Gestalt psychology, stretch their meaning beyond recognition, mix them with notions—often unclear and often incompatible—from the depth psychologies, existentialism, and common sense, and he has called the whole mixture gestalt therapy. His work has no substantive relation to scientific Gestalt psychology. To use his own language, Fritz Perls has done 'his thing' whatever it is, it is not Gestalt psychology" [26] With her analysis however, she restricts herself explicitly to only three of Perls' books from 1969 and 1972, leaving out Perls' earlier work, and Gestalt therapy in general as a psychotherapy method. [27]

There have been clinical applications of Gestalt psychology in the psychotherapeutic field long before Perls'ian Gestalt therapy, in group psychoanalysis (Foulkes), Adlerian individual psychology, by Gestalt psychologists in psychotherapy like Erwin Levy, Abraham S. Luchins, by Gestalt psychologically oriented psychoanalysts in Italy (Canestrari and others), and there have been newer developments foremost in Europe. For example, a strictly Gestalt psychology-based therapeutic method is Gestalt Theoretical Psychotherapy, developed by the German Gestalt psychologist and psychotherapist Hans-Jürgen Walter and his colleagues in Germany, Austria (Gerhard Stemberger and colleagues) and Switzerland. Other countries, especially Italy, have seen similar developments.

Gestalt psychology made many contributions to the body of psychology. The Gestaltists were the first to demonstrate empirically and document many facts about perception—including facts about the perception of movement, the perception of contour, perceptual constancy, and perceptual illusions. [16] Wertheimer's discovery of the phi phenomenon is one example of such a contribution. [28] In addition to discovering perceptual phenomena, the contributions of Gestalt psychology include: (a) a unique theoretical framework and methodology, (b) a set of perceptual principles, (c) a well-known set of perceptual grouping laws, (d) a theory of problem solving based on insight, and (e) a theory of memory. The following subsections discuss these contributions in turn.

Theoretical framework and methodology Edit

The Gestalt psychologists practiced a set of theoretical and methodological principles that attempted to redefine the approach to psychological research. This is in contrast to investigations developed at the beginning of the 20th century, based on traditional scientific methodology, which divided the object of study into a set of elements that could be analyzed separately with the objective of reducing the complexity of this object.

The theoretical principles are the following:

  • Principle of Totality—Conscious experience must be considered globally (by taking into account all the physical and mental aspects of the individual simultaneously) because the nature of the mind demands that each component be considered as part of a system of dynamic relationships. Wertheimer described holism as fundamental to Gestalt psychology, [11] writing "There are wholes, the behavior of which is not determined by that of their individual elements, but where the part-processes are themselves determined by the intrinsic nature of the whole." [29] In other words, a perceptual whole is different from what one would predict based on only its individual parts. [11] Moreover, the nature of a part depends upon the whole in which it is embedded. [11] Köhler, for example, writes "In psychology. we have wholes which, instead of being the sum of parts existing independently, give their parts specific functions or properties that can only be defined in relation to the whole in question." [30] Thus, the maxim that the whole is more than the sum of its parts is not a precise description of the Gestaltist view. [11] Rather, "The whole is something else than the sum of its parts, because summing is a meaningless procedure, whereas the whole-part relationship is meaningful." [31]
  • Principle of psychophysicalisomorphism – Köhler hypothesized that there is a correlation between conscious experience and cerebral activity. [18]

Based on the principles above the following methodological principles are defined:

  • Phenomenon experimental analysis—In relation to the Totality Principle any psychological research should take phenomena as a starting point and not be solely focused on sensory qualities.
  • Biotic experiment—The Gestalt psychologists established a need to conduct real experiments that sharply contrasted with and opposed classic laboratory experiments. This signified experimenting in natural situations, developed in real conditions, in which it would be possible to reproduce, with higher fidelity, what would be habitual for a subject. [32]

Properties Edit

The key principles of gestalt systems are emergence, reification, multistability and invariance. [33]

Reification Edit

Reification is the constructive or generative aspect of perception, by which the experienced percept contains more explicit spatial information than the sensory stimulus on which it is based.

For instance, a triangle is perceived in picture A, though no triangle is there. In pictures B and D the eye recognizes disparate shapes as "belonging" to a single shape, in C a complete three-dimensional shape is seen, where in actuality no such thing is drawn.

Reification can be explained by progress in the study of illusory contours, which are treated by the visual system as "real" contours.

Multistability Edit

Multistability (or multistable perception) is the tendency of ambiguous perceptual experiences to pop back and forth unstably between two or more alternative interpretations. This is seen, for example, in the Necker cube and Rubin's Figure/Vase illusion shown here. Other examples include the three-legged blivet and artist M. C. Escher's artwork and the appearance of flashing marquee lights moving first one direction and then suddenly the other. Again, Gestalt psychology does not explain how images appear multistable, only that they do.

Invariance Edit

Invariance is the property of perception whereby simple geometrical objects are recognized independent of rotation, translation, and scale as well as several other variations such as elastic deformations, different lighting, and different component features. For example, the objects in A in the figure are all immediately recognized as the same basic shape, which are immediately distinguishable from the forms in B. They are even recognized despite perspective and elastic deformations as in C, and when depicted using different graphic elements as in D. Computational theories of vision, such as those by David Marr, have provided alternate explanations of how perceived objects are classified.

Emergence, reification, multistability, and invariance are not necessarily separable modules to model individually, but they could be different aspects of a single unified dynamic mechanism. [34]

Figure-Ground Organization Edit

The perceptual field (what an organism perceives) is organized. Figure-ground organization is one form of perceptual organization. [18] Figure-ground organization is the interpretation of perceptual elements in terms of their shapes and relative locations in the layout of surfaces in the 3-D world. [18] Figure-ground organization structures the perceptual field into a figure (standing out at the front of the perceptual field) and a background (receding behind the figure). [35] Pioneering work on figure-ground organization was carried out by the Danish psychologist Edgar Rubin. The Gestalt psychologists demonstrated that we tend to perceive as figures those parts of our perceptual fields that are convex, symmetric, small, and enclosed. [18]

Prägnanz Edit

Like figure-ground organization, perceptual grouping (sometimes called perceptual segregation [36] ) is a form of perceptual organization. [18] Organisms perceive some parts of their perceptual fields as "hanging together" more tightly than others. [18] They use this information for object detection. [36] Perceptual grouping is the process that determines what these "pieces" of the perceptual field are. [18]

The Gestaltists were the first psychologists to systematically study perceptual grouping. [36] According to Gestalt psychologists, the fundamental principle of perceptual grouping is the law of Prägnanz. [36] (The law of Prägnanz is also known as the law of good Gestalt.) Prägnanz is a German word that directly translates to "pithiness" and implies salience, conciseness, and orderliness. [37] The law of Prägnanz says that we tend to experience things as regular, orderly, symmetrical, and simple. As Koffka put it, "Of several geometrically possible organizations that one will actually occur which possesses the best, simplest and most stable shape." [38]

The law of Prägnanz implies that, as individuals perceive the world, they eliminate complexity and unfamiliarity so they can observe reality in its most simplistic form. Eliminating extraneous stimuli helps the mind create meaning. This meaning created by perception implies a global regularity, which is often mentally prioritized over spatial relations. The law of good Gestalt focuses on the idea of conciseness, which is what all of Gestalt theory is based on. [39]

A major aspect of Gestalt psychology is that it implies that the mind understands external stimuli as wholes rather than as the sums of their parts. The wholes are structured and organized using grouping laws.

Gestalt psychologists attempted to discover refinements of the law of Prägnanz, and this involved writing down laws that, hypothetically, allow us to predict the interpretation of sensation, what are often called "gestalt laws". [40] Wertheimer defined a few principles that explain the ways humans perceive objects. Those principles were based on similarity, proximity, continuity. [41] The Gestalt concept is based on perceiving reality in its simplest form. [42] The various laws are called laws or principles, depending on the paper where they appear—but for simplicity's sake, this article uses the term laws. These laws took several forms, such as the grouping of similar, or proximate, objects together, within this global process. These laws deal with the sensory modality of vision. However, there are analogous laws for other sensory modalities including auditory, tactile, gustatory and olfactory (Bregman – GP). The visual Gestalt principles of grouping were introduced in Wertheimer (1923). Through the 1930s and '40s Wertheimer, Kohler and Koffka formulated many of the laws of grouping through the study of visual perception.

Law of Proximity Edit

The law of proximity states that when an individual perceives an assortment of objects, they perceive objects that are close to each other as forming a group. For example, in the figure illustrating the law of proximity, there are 72 circles, but we perceive the collection of circles in groups. Specifically, we perceive that there is a group of 36 circles on the left side of the image, and three groups of 12 circles on the right side of the image. This law is often used in advertising logos to emphasize which aspects of events are associated. [39] [43]

Law of Similarity Edit

The law of similarity states that elements within an assortment of objects are perceptually grouped together if they are similar to each other. This similarity can occur in the form of shape, colour, shading or other qualities. For example, the figure illustrating the law of similarity portrays 36 circles all equal distance apart from one another forming a square. In this depiction, 18 of the circles are shaded dark, and 18 of the circles are shaded light. We perceive the dark circles as grouped together and the light circles as grouped together, forming six horizontal lines within the square of circles. This perception of lines is due to the law of similarity. [43]

Law of Closure Edit

Gestalt psychologists believed that humans tend to perceive objects as complete rather than focusing on the gaps that the object might contain. [44] For example, a circle has good Gestalt in terms of completeness. However, we will also perceive an incomplete circle as a complete circle. [35] That tendency to complete shapes and figures is called closure. [35] The law of closure states that individuals perceive objects such as shapes, letters, pictures, etc., as being whole when they are not complete. Specifically, when parts of a whole picture are missing, our perception fills in the visual gap. Research shows that the reason the mind completes a regular figure that is not perceived through sensation is to increase the regularity of surrounding stimuli. For example, the figure that depicts the law of closure portrays what we perceive as a circle on the left side of the image and a rectangle on the right side of the image. However, gaps are present in the shapes. If the law of closure did not exist, the image would depict an assortment of different lines with different lengths, rotations, and curvatures—but with the law of closure, we perceptually combine the lines into whole shapes. [39] [43] [45]

Law of Symmetry Edit

The law of symmetry states that the mind perceives objects as being symmetrical and forming around a center point. It is perceptually pleasing to divide objects into an even number of symmetrical parts. Therefore, when two symmetrical elements are unconnected the mind perceptually connects them to form a coherent shape. Similarities between symmetrical objects increase the likelihood that objects are grouped to form a combined symmetrical object. For example, the figure depicting the law of symmetry shows a configuration of square and curled brackets. When the image is perceived, we tend to observe three pairs of symmetrical brackets rather than six individual brackets. [39] [43]

Law of Common Fate Edit

The law of common fate states that objects are perceived as lines that move along the smoothest path. Experiments using the visual sensory modality found that movement of elements of an object produce paths that individuals perceive that the objects are on. We perceive elements of objects to have trends of motion, which indicate the path that the object is on. The law of continuity implies the grouping together of objects that have the same trend of motion and are therefore on the same path. For example, if there are an array of dots and half the dots are moving upward while the other half are moving downward, we would perceive the upward moving dots and the downward moving dots as two distinct units. [37]

Law of Continuity Edit

The law of continuity (also known as the law of good continuation) states that elements of objects tend to be grouped together, and therefore integrated into perceptual wholes if they are aligned within an object. In cases where there is an intersection between objects, individuals tend to perceive the two objects as two single uninterrupted entities. Stimuli remain distinct even with overlap. We are less likely to group elements with sharp abrupt directional changes as being one object. [39]

Law of Past Experience Edit

The law of past experience implies that under some circumstances visual stimuli are categorized according to past experience. If two objects tend to be observed within close proximity, or small temporal intervals, the objects are more likely to be perceived together. For example, the English language contains 26 letters that are grouped to form words using a set of rules. If an individual reads an English word they have never seen, they use the law of past experience to interpret the letters "L" and "I" as two letters beside each other, rather than using the law of closure to combine the letters and interpret the object as an uppercase U. [37]

Music Edit

An example of the Gestalt movement in effect, as it is both a process and result, is a music sequence. People are able to recognise a sequence of perhaps six or seven notes, despite them being transposed into a different tuning or key. [46]

Problem solving and insight Edit

Gestalt psychology contributed to the scientific study of problem solving. [28] In fact, the early experimental work of the Gestaltists in Germany [47] marks the beginning of the scientific study of problem solving. Later this experimental work continued through the 1960s and early 1970s with research conducted on relatively simple (but novel for participants) laboratory tasks of problem solving. [48] [49]

Given Gestalt psychology's focus on the whole, it was natural for Gestalt psychologists to study problem solving from the perspective of insight, seeking to understand the process by which organisms sometimes suddenly transition from having no idea how to solve a problem to instantly understanding the whole problem and its solution. [9] In a famous set of experiments, Köhler gave chimpanzees some boxes and placed food high off the ground after some time, the chimpanzees appeared to suddenly realize that they could stack the boxes on top of each other to reach the food. [50]

Max Wertheimer distinguished two kinds of thinking: productive thinking and reproductive thinking. [51] [52] [53] Productive thinking is solving a problem based on insight—a quick, creative, unplanned response to situations and environmental interaction. Reproductive thinking is solving a problem deliberately based on previous experience and knowledge. Reproductive thinking proceeds algorithmically—a problem solver reproduces a series of steps from memory, knowing that they will lead to a solution—or by trial and error. [53]

Karl Duncker, another Gestalt psychologist who studied problem solving, [54] coined the term functional fixedness for describing the difficulties in both visual perception and problem solving that arise from the fact that one element of a whole situation already has a (fixed) function that has to be changed in order to perceive something or find the solution to a problem. [55]

Abraham Luchins also studied problem solving from the perspective of Gestalt psychology. He is well known for his research on the role of mental set (Einstellung effect), which he demonstrated using a series of problems having to do with refilling water jars. [56]

Another Gestalt psychologist, Perkins, believes insight deals with three processes:

  1. Unconscious leap in thinking. [40]
  2. The increased amount of speed in mental processing.
  3. The amount of short-circuiting that occurs in normal reasoning. [57]

Views going against the Gestalt psychology are:

Fuzzy-trace theory of memory Edit

Fuzzy-trace theory, a dual process model of memory and reasoning, was also derived from Gestalt psychology. Fuzzy-trace theory posits that we encode information into two separate traces: verbatim and gist. Information stored in verbatim is exact memory for detail (the individual parts of a pattern, for example) while information stored in gist is semantic and conceptual (what we perceive the pattern to be). The effects seen in Gestalt psychology can be attributed to the way we encode information as gist. [58] [59]

Gestalt psychology struggled to precisely define terms like Prägnanz, to make specific behavioral predictions, and to articulate testable models of underlying neural mechanisms. [11] It was criticized as being merely descriptive. [60] These shortcomings led, by the mid-20th century, to growing dissatisfaction with Gestaltism and a subsequent decline in its impact on psychology. [11] Despite this decline, Gestalt psychology has formed the basis of much further research into the perception of patterns and objects [61] and of research into behavior, thinking, problem solving and psychopathology.

Support from cybernetics and neurology Edit

In the 1940s and 1950s, laboratory research in neurology and what became known as cybernetics on the mechanism of frogs' eyes indicate that perception of 'gestalts' (in particular gestalts in motion) is perhaps more primitive and fundamental than 'seeing' as such:

A frog hunts on land by vision. He has no fovea, or region of greatest acuity in vision, upon which he must center a part of the image. The frog does not seem to see or, at any rate, is not concerned with the detail of stationary parts of the world around him. He will starve to death surrounded by food if it is not moving. His choice of food is determined only by size and movement. He will leap to capture any object the size of an insect or worm, providing it moves like one. He can be fooled easily not only by a piece of dangled meat but by any moving small object. He does remember a moving thing provided it stays within his field of vision and he is not distracted. [62] The lowest-level concepts related to visual perception for a human being probably differ little from the concepts of a frog. In any case, the structure of the retina in mammals and in human beings is the same as in amphibians. The phenomenon of distortion of perception of an image stabilized on the retina gives some idea of the concepts of the subsequent levels of the hierarchy. This is a very interesting phenomenon. When a person looks at an immobile object, "fixes" it with his eyes, the eyeballs do not remain absolutely immobile they make small involuntary movements. As a result the image of the object on the retina is constantly in motion, slowly drifting and jumping back to the point of maximum sensitivity. The image "marks time" in the vicinity of this point. [63]

In the 1990s, Andranik Tangian developed a model of artificial perception that implemented a so-called principle of correlativity, which operationalized the Gestalt psychology laws in their interaction. The model finds structures in data without knowing the structures, similarly to segregating elements in abstract painting — like curves, contours and spots — without identifying them with known objects. The approach is based on the least complex data representations in the sense of Kolmogorov, i.e. requiring the least memory storage, which is regarded as saving the brain energy. The least complexity criterion leads to multi-level data representations in terms of generative patterns and their transformations, using proximities, similarities, symmetries, common fate grouping, continuities, etc. The idea that perception is data representation rather than "physical" recognition is illustrated by the effect of several voices produced by a single physical body — a loudspeaker membrane, whereas the effect of a single tone is produced by several physical bodies — organ pipes tuned as a chord and activated by a single key. It is shown that the physical causality in certain observations can be revealed through optimal data representations, and this nature–information duality is explained by the fact that both nature and information are subordinated to the same principle of efficiency. In some situations, the least complex data representations use the patterns already stored in the memory, demonstrating the dependence of perception on previous knowledge — in line with the Gestalt psychology law of past experience. Such an intelligent perception is opposed to the naïve perception that is based exclusively on direct percepts and is therefore context-dependent. The model is applied to automatic notation of music — recognition of interval structures in chords and polyphonic voices (with no reference to pitch, thereby relying on interval hearing instead of absolute hearing) as well as rhythms under variable tempo, approaching the capabilities of trained musicians. The model is also relevant to visual scene analysis and explains some modes of abstract thinking. [64] [65]

Quantum cognition modeling Edit

Similarities between Gestalt phenomena and quantum mechanics have been pointed out by, among others, chemist Anton Amann, who commented that "similarities between Gestalt perception and quantum mechanics are on a level of a parable" yet may give useful insight nonetheless. [66] Physicist Elio Conte and co-workers have proposed abstract, mathematical models to describe the time dynamics of cognitive associations with mathematical tools borrowed from quantum mechanics [67] [68] and has discussed psychology experiments in this context. A similar approach has been suggested by physicists David Bohm, Basil Hiley and philosopher Paavo Pylkkänen with the notion that mind and matter both emerge from an "implicate order". [69] [70] The models involve non-commutative mathematics such models account for situations in which the outcome of two measurements performed one after the other can depend on the order in which they are performed—a pertinent feature for psychological processes, as an experiment performed on a conscious person may influence the outcome of a subsequent experiment by changing the state of mind of that person.

Use in contemporary social psychology Edit

The halo effect can be explained through the application of Gestalt theories to social information processing. [71] [15] The constructive theories of social cognition are applied though the expectations of individuals. They have been perceived in this manner and the person judging the individual is continuing to view them in this positive manner. [15] Gestalt's theories of perception enforces that individual's tendency to perceive actions and characteristics as a whole rather than isolated parts, [15] therefore humans are inclined to build a coherent and consistent impression of objects and behaviors in order to achieve an acceptable shape and form. The halo effect is what forms patterns for individuals, [15] the halo effect being classified as a cognitive bias which occurs during impression formation. [71] The halo effect can also be altered by physical characteristics, social status and many other characteristics. [72] As well, the halo effect can have real repercussions on the individual's perception of reality, either negatively or positively, meaning to construct negative or positive images about other individuals or situations, something that could lead to self-fulfilling prophesies, stereotyping, or even discrimination. [15]

Contemporary cognitive and perceptual psychology Edit

Some of the central criticisms of Gestaltism are based on the preference Gestaltists are deemed to have for theory over data, and a lack of quantitative research supporting Gestalt ideas. This is not necessarily a fair criticism as highlighted by a recent collection of quantitative research on Gestalt perception. [73] Researchers continue to test hypotheses about the mechanisms underlying Gestalt principles such as the principle of similarity. [74]

Other important criticisms concern the lack of definition and support for the many physiological assumptions made by gestaltists [75] and lack of theoretical coherence in modern Gestalt psychology. [73]

In some scholarly communities, such as cognitive psychology and computational neuroscience, gestalt theories of perception are criticized for being descriptive rather than explanatory in nature. For this reason, they are viewed by some as redundant or uninformative. For example, a textbook on visual perception states that, "The physiological theory of the gestaltists has fallen by the wayside, leaving us with a set of descriptive principles, but without a model of perceptual processing. Indeed, some of their 'laws' of perceptual organisation today sound vague and inadequate. What is meant by a 'good' or 'simple' shape, for example?" [60]

One historian of psychology has argued that Gestalt psychologists first discovered many principles later championed by cognitive psychology, including schemas and prototypes. [76] Another psychologist has argued that the Gestalt psychologists made a lasting contribution by showing how the study of illusions can help scientists understand essential aspects of how the visual system normally functions, not merely how it breaks down. [77]

Use in design Edit

The gestalt laws are used in several visual design fields, such as user interface design and cartography. The laws of similarity and proximity can, for example, be used as guides for placing radio buttons. They may also be used in designing computers and software for more intuitive human use. Examples include the design and layout of a desktop's shortcuts in rows and columns. [43]

In map design, principles of Prägnanz or grouping are crucial for implying a conceptual order to the portrayed geographic features, thus facilitating the intended use of the map. [78] The Law of Similarity is employed by selecting similar map symbols for similar kinds of features or features with similar properties the Law of Proximity is crucial to identifying geographic patterns and regions and the Laws of Closure and Continuity allow users to recognize features that may be obscured by other features (such as when a road goes over a river).


Imagery and Sport Psychology

Sports psychologists often assist athletes in creating an imagery practice as a means of building their mental toolbox. Imagination, or imagery practice, is a powerful way to enhance a sports performance because it recruits various senses. It is the senses of sight, sound, smell, touch, taste, and vision that create the emotional hooks necessary for an efficient mental movie. The more senses you are able to incorporate into an imagery session, the more powerful the image will work in your favor during competition. For example, a basketball player can create a voice recorded 1-minute free throw visualization program on her smartphone for daily use. Here is an example of a multi-sensory imagery recording:

&ldquoI stand ready at the free throw line. I take a deep breath. I am relaxed. The ball is bounced to me and I hear the bounce. I dribble 3 times. I place my finger on the groove. In my mind, I visualize a swish. I made the free throw. I look at the back of the rim. Set my legs. Set my elbow. Release the ball with a perfect backspin. Swish.&rdquo

Every day, when she listens to this recording and then practices her routine she is aligning her imagination with her outcome. It is a powerful mental tool that can have a major impact on performance. Studies have proven time and time again, that regular use of imagery improves muscle memory and sport-specific skills faster than actual training. Combine mental and physical training and an athlete gains a competitive edge.

Athletics Weekly recently posted an article about imagery written by Steven Roy Mann, who is a sports psychologist and Martial Arts teacher:

&ldquo Imagery is one of the greatest tools used in sports psychology to enhance performance. This is done by enhancing motor skills and muscle memory and it is also used for motivation. Studies have found that practicing imagery, along with regular training, enhances muscle memory and sports skills faster and further than regular training alone. In a competitive world where only the slightest improvement can be the difference between a champion and a runner-up, we need to take all the opportunities that we can to become elite at what we do.

So the question is, how exactly do we as athletes tap into this potential which helps us to excel further? Visualization and mental imagery are easier than you think, but it still requires training before it can be useful.

Mann goes on to explain that 2 factors are important to imagery:

  1. Controllability: Recreating your sport in a few situations
  2. Vividness: Use as many senses as possible to engage more brain and nerve cells.

Mann says that imagery should be done in 3 specific ways:

1. Daily: Only 5 minutes per day.

This is a productive way to gain a competitive edge and it is easy to do with the use of your smartphone. So get started today and create your visual practice!


Contents

Motor skills are movements and actions of the bone structures. [1] Typically, they are categorised into two groups: gross motor skills and fine motor skills. Gross motor skills are involved in movement and coordination of the arms, legs, and other large body parts. They involve actions such as running, crawling and swimming. Fine motor skills are involved in smaller movements that occur in the wrists, hands, fingers, feet and toes. Specifically, single joint movements are fine motor movements and require fine motor skills. They involve smaller actions such as picking up objects between the thumb and finger, writing carefully, and even blinking. These two motor skills work together to provide coordination.

Through each developmental stage of a child’s life and throughout our lifetime motor skills gradually develop. They are first seen during a child’s development stages: infancy, toddler-hood, preschool and school age. "Basic” fine motor skills gradually develop and are typically mastered between the ages of 6-12 in children. These skills will keep developing with age, practice and the increased use of muscles while playing sports, playing an instrument, using the computer, and writing. If deemed necessary, occupational therapy can help improve overall fine motor skills. [2]

Infancy Edit

The first motor skills, beginning from birth, are initially characterised by involuntary reflexes. [3] The most notable involuntary reflex is the Darwinian reflex, a primitive reflex displayed in various newborn primates species. These involuntary muscle movements are temporary and often disappear after the first two months. After eight weeks, the infant will begin to voluntarily use their fingers to touch. However, their ability to grab objects is still undeveloped at this point.

At two to five months the infant will begin to develop hand-eye coordination, and they will start reaching for and grasping objects. In this way, they improve their overall grasping skills.

In 1952, Piaget found that even before infants are able to reach for and successfully grasp objects they see, they demonstrate competent hand-mouth coordination. A study was done by Philippe Rochat at Emory University in 1992 to test the relation between progress in the control of posture and the developmental transition from two-handed to one-handed engagement in reaching. It was found that the object reached for needed to be controlled. The precision of the reach is potentially maximized when placed centrally. It was also found that the posture needed to be controlled because infants that were not able to sit on their own used bimanual reaches in all postural positions except sitting upright, where they would reach one-handed. As a result, their grasping phases will not have been maximized because of the decrease in body control. On the other hand, if the infant does not have body control, it would be hard for them to get a hold of an object because their reach will be limited. As a result, the infant will just keep falling, stopping them from reaching an object because of no body control. When "nonsitting" infants reached bimanually, while seated upright, they often ended up falling forward, which prevented them from reaching toward the target. Regardless of their ability or lack of ability to control self-sitting, infants are able to adjust their two handed engagement in relation to the arrangement of the objects being reached for. Analysis of hand-to-hand distance during reaching indicates that in the prone and supine posture, non-sitting infants moved their hands simultaneously towards the midline of their bodies as they reached which is not observed by stable sitting infants in any position. Non-sitter infants, although showing strong tendencies toward bimanual reaching, tend to reach with one hand only, when placed in the seated posture. Sitter infants show a majority of differentiated reaches in all posture conditions.

A study conducted by Esther Thelen on postural control during infancy used the dynamic systems approach to observe motor development. The findings suggest that early reaching is constrained by head and shoulder instability. The relationship between posture and reaching cannot be disentangled. Thus, head control and body stability are necessary for the emergence of grasping.

The next developmental milestone is between seven and twelve months, when a series of fine motor skills begins to develop. These include, but are not limited to, increase in grip, enhancement of vision, pointing with the index finger, smoothly transferring objects from one hand to the other, as well as using the pincer grip (with the thumb and index fingers) to pick up tiny objects with precision. A lot of factors change in grasping when the infant becomes seven months. The infant will have better chance of grasping due to the fact that the infant can sit up on their own. Therefore, the infant will not fall over. The infant grasping also changes. The infant starts to hold objects more properly when age increases [4]

Toddler-hood Edit

By the time a child is one year old, their fine motor skills have developed to allow the manipulation of objects with greater intent.

As children manipulate objects with purpose, they gain experience identifying objects based on their shape, size, and weight. By engaging in hands-on play the child learns that some objects are heavy, requiring more force to move them that some are small, easily slipping through the fingers and that other objects come apart and can possibly be put back together again. This type of play is essential for the development of not only the child's fine motor skills, but also for learning how the world works. [5]

It is during this stage in the development of fine motor skills that a toddler will show hand dominance.

Preschool Edit

Children typically attend preschool between the ages of 2 and 5. At this time, the child is capable of grasping objects using the static tripod grasp, which is the combined use of the index, thumb, and middle finger. A preschooler's motor skills are moderate, allowing the child to cut shapes out of paper, draw or trace over vertical lines with crayons, button their clothes, and pick up objects. A preferred hand dominates the majority of their activities. They also develop sensory awareness and interpret their environment by using their senses and coordinate movements based on that. [6]

After the static tripod grasp, the next form is the dynamic tripod grasp. These are shown in a series through Schneck and Henderson's Grip Form chart. Based on the accuracy and form of hold the child will be ranked either from 1-10 or 1-5 of how well they are able to complete the dynamic tripod grasp while properly writing. In conjunction with accuracy and precision the child will be able to properly position a writing utensil in terms of implement diameter as well as form and grip strength. Proper handwriting and drawing fall deeper into a category of graphomotor skills. [7]

The National Center of Teaching and Learning illustrates the abilities that preschoolers should have improved through their fine motor skills in several domains. Children use their motor skills by sorting and manipulating geometric shapes, making patterns, and using measurement tools to build their math skills. By using writing tools and reading books, they build their language and literacy. Arts and crafts activities like cutting and gluing paper, finger painting, and dressing up develops their creativity. Parents can support this development by intervening when the child does not perform the fine motor activity correctly, making use of several senses in a learning activity, and offer activities that the child will be successful with. [6]

Developmental disabilities may render a child incapable of performing certain motor activities, such as drawing or building blocks. [8] Fine motor skills acquired during this stage aids in the later advancement and understanding of subjects such as science and reading. [9] A study by the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, which included twenty-six preschoolers who had received occupational therapy on a weekly basis, showed overall advancements in their fine motor skill area. The results showed a link between in-hand manipulation, eye-hand coordination, and grasping strength with the child's motor skills, self-care and social function. In addition, these children were shown to have better mobility and self-sustainment. [2]

School age Edit

During the ages between 5 and 7 the fine motor skills will have developed to a much higher degree, and are now being refined. As the child interacts with objects the movements of the elbows and shoulders should be less apparent, as should the movements of wrist and fingers. From the ages of 3–5 years old, girls advance their fine motor skills more than boys. Girls develop physically at an earlier age than boys this is what allows them to advance their motor skills at a faster rate during prepubescent ages. Boys advance in gross motor skills later on at around age 5 and up. Girls are more advanced in balance and motor dexterity. [ citation needed ]

Children should be able to make precise cuts with scissors, for example, cutting out squares and holding them in a more common and mature manner. The child's movements should become fluid as the arms and hands become more in sync with each other. The child should also be able to write more precisely on lines, and print letters and numbers with greater clarity. In terms of motor development and athletic performance, pediatric boys [ clarification needed ] tend to be much more physically active than pediatric girls by nature and have a harder time staying still for long periods of time. This is due to the early development of motor skills that occurs in boys faster than it does in girls. During the first 2–3 years of elementary school, gross motor skills are similar among girls and boys with basic skills such as being able to run, jump, and toss a ball. However, boys start to develop more gross motor skills that give them an advantage in activities where girls may still be working on the basics. Boys' high energy and choice to be a part of large groups comes from their gross motor skills being developed. In general, pediatric girls tend to fall behind pediatric boys in terms of advancement of gross motor skills toward the end of elementary school. [10] [Citation 10 does not support the argument that there is a gender divide in motor skills development. In fact, no such citation exists on this page. This section needs to be removed or updated with correct sources.]

Fine motor skills can become impaired due to injury, illness, stroke, congenital deformities, cerebral palsy, or developmental disabilities. Problems with the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, muscles, or joints can also have an effect on fine motor skills, and can decrease control. If an infant or child up to age five is not developing their fine motor skills, they will show signs of difficulty controlling coordinated body movements with the hands, fingers, and face. In young children, the delay in the ability to sit up or learn to walk can be an early sign that there will be issues with fine motor skills. Children may also show signs of difficulty with tasks such as cutting with scissors, drawing lines, folding clothes, holding a pencil and writing, and zipping a zipper. These are tasks that involve fine motor skills, and if a child has difficulty with these they might have poor hand eye coordination and could need therapy to improve their skills.

Fine motor skills can be assessed with standardized and non-standardized tests in children and adults. Fine-motor assessments can include force matching tasks. Humans exhibit a high degree of accuracy in force matching tasks where an individual is instructed to match a reference force applied to a finger with the same or different finger. [11] Humans also exhibit a high degree of accuracy during grip force matching tasks. [12] These aspects of manual dexterity are apparent in the ability of humans to effectively use tools, and perform challenging manipulation tasks such as handling unstable objects. [13] Other assessments include but are not limited to PDMS "The Peabody Developmental Scales". [14] PDMS is an evaluation done for children from birth till the age seven that examines the child's ability to grasp a variety of objects, the development of eye-hand coordination, and the child's overall finger dexterity. [14] Similar to PDMS, Visual-motor integration assessment, VMI-R, is an assessment that examines the visual motor integration system which demonstrates and points out possible learning disabilities that are often related to delays in visual perception and fine-motor skills such as poor hand-eye coordination. [15] Because additionally advancements in mathematics and language skills are directly correlated to the development of the fine motor system, it is essential that children acquire the fine motor skills that are needed to interact with the environment at an early stage. [16] Examples of tests include:


Results

Sample Characteristics: Attrition Rate and Demographics

Intervention Group

Of a total of 104 first-year undergraduate students enrolled on the course, only 13 did not complete the baseline questionnaire (12.5%). Of the 91 students who did, 81 (90%) completed the same questionnaire post-intervention: an attrition rate of only 10%. The mean age of these 81 respondents (37 males, 41 females, 3 undisclosed sex) was 19 years (range 18�, SD = 1.34). Twenty-nine (36.3%) were singers, 19 (23.8%) were string players, 17 (21.3%) were wind and brass players, 11 were pianists (13.8%), three were composers (3.8%), and one was a percussionist (1.3%). The mean number of years they had sung, or played their main instrument, was 9.4 (range 2�, SD = 3.09). They reported carrying out a mean of 14.3 h of personal practice per week (range 0� h, SD = 11.08).

Control Group

Thirty-three third-year undergraduate students (18 male, 14 female, and one who preferred not to disclose their sex) with a mean age of 22 (range 20�, SD = 1.71) completed the questionnaire either online or as hard copy in March𠄺pril 2018. Fifteen were string players (46.9%), six were keyboard players (18.8%), six were wind and brass players (18.8%), three were singers (9.4%), and two were composers (6.3%). Information on main instrument was missing for one respondent. They had played their main instruments for a mean of 12 years (range 7�, SD = 3.16).

Hearing and Use of Hearing Protection

For the purposes of comparing the intervention group with controls, data from all the students who completed to the questionnaire at baseline, including those who did not complete it post-intervention, are shown in Table 1 as numbers and percentages of respondents to each question.

Table 1. Hearing and use of hearing protection.

Use of Hearing Protection

In both groups, minorities of respondents reported using hearing protection “sometimes,” “often” or 𠇊lways” while practicing alone (10% of the intervention group and 9% of controls), and during their own performances (8% of the intervention group and 12% of controls). By contrast, 20% of the intervention group and 30% of controls reported using hearing protection while rehearsing with other people, and 19% of the intervention group and 36% of controls used it while listening to other people's performances. Seventy percent of those who did use hearing protection used reusable soft ear plugs. Of those whose instruments can be muted, 17.5% of the intervention group and 22.2% of controls reported using the mute “often” or 𠇊lways.”

Experiences of Using Hearing Protection

Fifty-six percent of the respondents in the intervention group who used hearing protection, but only 33% of controls, reported having got used to wearing them right away another 33% of controls said it had taken them “weeks/months/years” to get used to them.

Difficulties Using Hearing Protection

The most frequently-reported problems experienced by respondents in the intervention and control groups were a decrease in their ability to hear other players (26.8 and 45.5% respectively). The next most frequently-reported problems were difficulty inserting ear plugs (21.4% of intervention group responses) and hindrance to the player's own performance (33.3% of control group responses). The questionnaire included an invitation to report other problems: responses included “not being able to hear details in the sound” “made listening to my sound more difficult” �n't sing with them in” “I felt isolated and anxious over the sounds I was making and tuning” “I can hear my mouth moving—very distracting” and “hear myself from within my mouth when playing”.

Hearing Issues

Tinnitus was reported by 8% of the intervention group and 21% of controls, and hyperacusis by 6% and 22% respectively. Only one member of the intervention group experienced distortion and no-one reported diplacusis.

Hearing Loss

While only 36% of the intervention group and 47% of controls had had a hearing test in the previous 10 years, only 10% of the former and none of the latter had been diagnosed with hearing loss.

Primary Outcomes

Descriptive and inferential statistics are shown in Table 2 for perceived knowledge and importance of topics covered in the course, and awareness and knowledge of potential risks to health.

Table 2. Perceived knowledge and importance of topics, awareness and knowledge of potential risks.

Perceived Knowledge

There were statistically significant increases from baseline to post-intervention in mean ratings for perceived knowledge of all topics covered in the course: effective practicing strategies (Z = 𢄤.32, p < 0.001) effective rehearsing strategies (Z = 𢄣.84, p < 0.001) learning and memorizing strategies (Z = 𢄢.37, p = 0.01) ergonomics and posture (Z = 𢄢.45, p < 0.01) managing MPA (Z = 𢄤.97, p < 0.001) life skills and behavior change techniques (Z = 𢄣.12, p = 0.002) presentation skills (Z = 𢄢.31, p = 0.02). Small to medium effect sizes associated with these changes varied between r = 0.18 and r = 0.42 (Cohen, 1988). There was a trend such that respondents rated their perceived knowledge, post-intervention, higher than controls on managing MPA (Z = 𢄡.69, p = 0.09) but the difference between means did not reach significance.

Perceived Importance

Respondents rated their knowledge of effective learning and memorizing strategies, post-intervention, higher than controls (Z = 𢄢.07, p = 0.03, η 2 = 0.04), and tended to give higher ratings for the perceived importance of ergonomics and posture (Z = 𢄡.80, p = 0.07) although the difference between means did not reach significance. Otherwise, there were no differences between the ratings of the intervention and control groups, nor changes from baseline to post-intervention.

Awareness of Potential Risks

There was a significant increase from baseline to post-intervention in ratings for one of the three items: awareness of performance factors related to musculoskeletal injuries associated with learning and playing an instrument/singing (Z = 𢄣.09, p = 0.002, r = 0.26). There were no significant differences between the ratings of respondents, post-intervention, and controls.

Knowledge of Potential Risks

There were significant increases from baseline to post-intervention in ratings for both items: knowledge of sound intensity levels associated with hearing loss (Z = 𢄢.09, p = 0.03, r = 0.17) and how to deal with the health and safety issues associated with learning and playing a musical instrument (Z = 𢄥.03, p < 0.001, r = 0.39). There were no significant differences between the ratings of respondents, post-intervention, and controls. There was, however, a trend such that the former rated their knowledge of sound intensity levels higher than the latter (Z = 𢄡.83, p = 0.06), although the difference between means did not reach significance.

Other Primary Outcomes

As shown in Table 3, there were no significant increases from baseline to post-intervention in ratings for responsibility for self-education and prevention of ill-health, or competence to implement recommendations for healthy performance. Nor, for these outcomes, were there any significant differences between the ratings of respondents, post-intervention, and controls.

Table 3. Perceived responsibility and competence.

Secondary Outcomes

Descriptive and inferential statistics are shown in Table 4.

Table 4. Secondary outcomes.

General Health

Means at both baseline and post-intervention were comparable to those obtained previously among musicians, but much lower than values among university students in the UK (Araujo et al., 2017). There were no significant mean differences from baseline to post-intervention, nor between intervention group and controls.

HRQoL

While means at baseline and post-intervention were low, there were nevertheless significant increases in ratings representing sleep problems (Z = 𢄢.77, p = 0.005, r = 0.21), distress (Z = 𢄢.63, p = 0.009, r = 0.20), and lack of vitality (Z = 𢄢.02, p = 0.04, r = 0.15). In comparison with respondents post-intervention, controls experienced more severe depression (Z = 𢄣.58, p < 0.001, η 2 = 0.11), distress (Z = 𢄢.18, p = 0.02, η 2 = 0.04), and lack of vitality (Z = 𢄣.49, p < 0.001, η 2 = 0.10).

Health-Promoting Behaviors

The HPLPII showed acceptable to good internal reliability for the whole scale (Cronbach's alpha = 0.77) and subscales at T1 with the following alphas: HR = 0.83 PA = 0.81 NU = 0.73 SG = 0.84 IR = 0.78 SM = 0.67) and at T2 for the entire scale (alpha = 0.79) and subscales: HR = 0.81 PA = 0.80 NU = 0.75 SG = 0.87 IR = 0.82 SM = 0.72). The grand mean of all scores on HPLPII was 2.53 (SD = 0.36), indicating that respondents reported engaging in health-promoting behaviors “sometimes” or “often” (Kreutz et al., 2008 Panebianco-Warrens et al., 2015 Araujo et al., 2017). Means for the subscales representing health responsibility, physical activity and stress management were lower, and means for the subscales representing nutrition, spiritual growth and interpersonal relations were higher than the grand mean. There were no significant differences in ratings at baseline and post-intervention, nor between those of respondents, post-intervention, and controls (see Table 4 for mean ratings and standard deviations).

Self-Efficacy

The SES scale showed good internal reliabilities at T1 and T2 (Cronbach's alphas = 0.86 and 0.89 respectively). Ratings increased significantly from baseline to post-intervention (Z = 𢄢.52, p < 0.01, r = 0.20), although the grand mean at baseline was only 3.0 (SD = 0.41), lower than found in previous research in the UK (M = 3.57 SD = 0.63: Kreutz et al., 2008) and South Africa (M = 3.89 SD = 0.59: Panebianco-Warrens et al., 2015). There were no significant differences between the ratings of respondents, post-intervention, and controls.

Emotional States

The PANAS scale showed good internal reliabilities at T1 (PA Cronbach's alpha = 0.87 NA = 0.83) and T2 (PA = 0.90 NA = 0.88). Ratings for positive affect decreased significantly from baseline to post-intervention (Z = 𢄤.02, p < 0.001, r = 0.32), although the mean at baseline was 3.89 (SD = 0.65), higher than those reported by Kreutz et al. (2008) and Panebianco-Warrens et al. (2015), which were 3.43 (SD = 0.75) and 3.51 (SD = 0.74) respectively. There was a trend such that ratings for negative affect increased (Z = 𢄡.64, p = 0.09), although significance was not reached once again, the mean at baseline was 1.77 (SD = 0.59), lower than the means reported in the UK and South African research, which were 2.09 (SD = 0.73) and 2.40 (SD = 0.81) respectively. In comparison with respondents post-intervention, controls experienced lower positive affect (Z = 𢄢.30, p = 0.02, η 2 = 0.04) and higher negative affect (Z = 𢄢.68, p < 01, η 2 = 0.06).

Perceived Stress

The PSS scale showed good internal reliability at T1 and T2 (Cronbach's alphas = 0.86 and 0.87 respectively). There was no significant difference between mean ratings at baseline and post-intervention, but in comparison with respondents, post-intervention, controls reported higher levels of stress (Z = 𢄢.28, p < 0.02, η 2 = 0.04).

PRMDs

There were no significant differences between mean ratings representing the frequency and severity of PRMDs at baseline and post-intervention, nor between the ratings of respondents, post-intervention, and controls. Both frequency and severity were comparatively low.

Perceived Exertion

There was a significant decrease from baseline to post-intervention (Z = 𢄣.05, p = 0.002, r = 0.24), although controls reported their daily practice routine to require more (albeit “very light”) effort (Z = 𢄣.22, p < 0.001).

Student Assignments

A total of 103 essays was submitted. Just over half the students chose to write about managing MPA or life skills and behavior change techniques (see Table 5). Less popular topics included injury prevention (including hearing loss), vocal health, practice and memorization strategies and the psychophysical mechanisms of performance and Alexander Technique. Three students wrote about public speaking, and a small minority chose to discuss the health and wellbeing component of the module as a whole.

Table 5. Course topics covered in student assignments.


The Effect of Physical Exercise on Anxiety

In this study, the effects of physical exercise to eliminate the anxiety in university youth was investigated. The study covered 311 students who had never involved in physical exercise or any form of physical exercise. They were from 7 different departments of Education Faculty of Konya Selçuk University. State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) by Spielberger was applied to the students. The first 60 who had the highest anxiety scores were determined. Half of 60(30 student) participated in physical exercise while the other 30 were accepted as the control group. Pre, mid and post–test were administered to both the test and control group. Results were estimated by ANOVA. As a result the anxiety level of female students was found to be higher comparison to males’ depending upon the gender. In addition, the results also showed that participation physical exercise and physical activities decreased the anxiety level of both sexes. According to the age, a similar level of anxiety was seen at the beginning. It appeared that these activities had a reduction in anxiety levels of all age categories. The reduction mentioned above was found highest in 19–20 age group. According to fields, the physical exercise activities played a very important role in minimizing the anxiety. This effect was the most reliable on the students of music department. As a result, it has been concluded that physical exercise activities played a very notable role to eliminate anxiety of the university youth.

Key Words: anxiety, physical exercise, university, student, psychology

Introduction
Anxiety is a feeling that exists in people nature. It occurs under irritating conditions. Excess anxiety may result in abnormal functions for the body. Everybody feels different anxiety, and physiological properties play very important roles in this situation(Spilberger, 1996).

Anxiety starts gradually and increases step by step. In case not to be controlled, it rises and irritates the people. The main reasons of anxiety are business travel, smoking, alcohol, over weight, failure, inappropriate physical appearance. Anxiety indications may be bone pains, being tired, headache, nervous, poor sleeping, forgetting, hesitations, hypochondriacs etc(Link,1993).

Anxiety and depression are the leading concerns of college students’ mental health (Rice and Leffert, 1997 Rimmer, Halikas, and Schuckit, 1982 Vredenburg, O’Brien, and Krames, 1988). Attending classes, taking tests, writing papers, and doing homework keep students running into busy schedules, working, nurturing a child, and taking care of other life concerns can create considerable stress and decreases sleeping hours, causes lower attendance rates, drop out, emotional behaviors, alcohol abuse, use of illegal drugs, or violence, lack of interpersonal skills, make unrealistic demands on themselves and others, suffer from motivational problems, and lower grades that impede their success in college (Arthur, 1998, Haines, Norris, and Kashy, 1996 Vredenburg, O’Brien, and Krames, 1988). This type of lifestyle may directly contribute to high levels of anxiety(Bertocci, Hirsch, Sommer, and Williams, 1992 Thompson, Bentz, and Liptzin, 1973).

We should all be aware of the benefits of regular physical activity it can improve our energy levels while we expend calories. It can be as simple to incorporate into our daily lives as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking an extra block instead of riding, or taking a walk after a meal instead of taking a nap. Regular physical exercise can help to prevent and manage coronary heart disease, hypertension, noninsulin-dependent diabetes, osteoporosis, and mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety. And regular physical activity has been associated with lower rates of colon cancer and incidence of stroke.

Physical activity can have a significant effect on mental health. Physically active adults have enhanced self concepts and self esteem, as indicated by increased confidence, assertiveness, emotional stability, independence and self control. Tekin (1997 ) found a significant difference between athlete and non-athlete student according to the scores of physical perception and self-esteem. Tekin (1998) administered a physical exercise programme to some of students participated in same summer camp and had different psychological outcomes from control and exercise group. Moreover, Zorba, Ziyagil and Tekin(1999) exposed the same results in their research that took up the relation between perceived physical competence, physical exercise, sport age and some psychological paramaters.

Doing exercises can eliminate anxiety, tension and stress under pressure conditions. The use of habitual exercise as a stress management technique has the benefits of mood enhancement, increased self-esteem and reduced psychological and physical stress reactions. Further, the greater the skill in exercise, the greater the appreciation of the quality of life and self-discovery through exercise(Berger).

According to Graham, Holt and Parker (1998), physical activities activities such as basketball, tennis, racquetball, weight-lifting, self-defense, and swimming help students to improve and maintain physical, mental health and the quality of lives.

In addition, a moderate-intensity exercise program has been reported to have a beneficial effect on the immune system (Nieman & Pedersen, 1999). Specifically, moderate exercise was found to reduce the number of sick days. Enhancement of immune function may derive from the stress-reducing and stress-hormone-decreasing (i.e., cortisol) benefits of exercise.

Although lower levels of anxiety have been reported for the young who engage in physical exercise (Craft & Landers, 1998 Mutrie and Biddle, 1995), little is known about the effects of exercise on anxiety in youth. Anxiety could be eliminated mainly by uses of physical exercise. The effects of exercise on youth’s anxiety is still less understood. Thus, the present study investigated whether physical exercise reduce the anxiety levels of the university students.

Material and Methods
In these study, male and female students from 7 different departments of Selçuk University, Education Faculty were used. This study covered only 1st and 2nd grade students. State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) by Spielberger was applied to 311 students. The first 60 who had the highest anxiety scores were determined. Half of 60(30 student) participated in physical exercise while the other 30 were accepted as the control group. Pre, mid and post–test were administered to both the experimental and control group. Results were estimated by ANOVA. Test group participated in organized physical activities such as gymnastics, volleyball, athletics for 30 minutes everyday during the six weeks. Mathematical mean, median, top value, standard error, standard deviation, variance, series width, minimum and maximum score values were calculated for each group. Having tested the variance analysis, .05 significance level was accepted and controlled.

Results
The distribution of total students was given in table 1.
Table 1. The distributions of students who were applied to STAI.

Department Total
Student
Respondent Ratio
(%)
Turkish
Language and Literature
126 57 45
Chemistry 123 44 36
History 130 48 37
Geography 113 34 30
Primary
School Teacher
97 19 20
Music 60 51 85
Kids
School
56 48 86
Total 705
311 44

The scores obtained from 311 students who were applied CAT were ranked. According to the test result , 25% of 311(60 student) who got highest anxiety scores were chosen as research group.

Table 2. The distribution of research group according to sex.