File Name: predicting athletic performance from cardiovascular indexes of challenge and threat.zip
Gratitude-based interventions are effective in facilitating positive relationships and increasing life satisfaction. However, for some individuals e.
This manuscript provides a critical review of the literature examining challenge and threat in sport, tracing its historical development and some of the current empirical ambiguities. To reconcile some of these ambiguities, and utilizing neurobiological evidence associated with approach and avoidance motivation c. For example, rather than see challenge and threat as opposite ends of a single bipolar continuum, the ESM implies that individuals could be 1 challenged, 2 threatened, 3 challenged and threatened, or 4 neither challenged or threatened by a particular stimulus.
From this perspective, it could be argued that the appraisal of some sport situations as both challenging and threatening could be advantageous, whereas the current literature seems to imply that the appraisal of stress as a threat is maladaptive for performance. The ESACT provides several testable hypotheses for advancing understanding of challenge and threat in sport and we describe a number of measures that can be used to examine these hypotheses. In sum, this paper provides a significant theoretical, empirical, and practical contribution to our understanding of challenge and threat in sport.
We begin this paper by providing a brief and critical summary of the two prevailing models that have guided research on challenge and threat in sport , namely the biopsychosocial model e. Coupled with the limitations in the literature on challenge and threat, we then consider several lines of converging evidence in related areas of research, which act as the impetus for proposing what we consider to be a unique, significant, and valuable contribution to the literature on challenge and threat: namely the Evaluative Space Approach to Challenge and Threat ESACT.
We conclude the paper by considering some applied implications and directions for future research. Specifically, we propose that the ESACT extends our understanding of challenge and threat beyond existing conceptualizations in several important ways:.
Rather than see challenge and threat as endpoints of a bipolar continuum, challenge and threat are reconceptualized as at least partially independent and bivalent states;. Individuals, then, may be challenged, threatened, or both challenged and threatened in motivationally relevant situations;.
A constellation of appraisals allow flexibility for evaluating stimuli as either a challenge perceiving there to be an opportunity for gain or growth , threat perceiving anticipated harm or loss , or as both challenge and threat;.
Describing contexts in which athletes may experience emotions of mixed valence e. Recognizing that approach and avoidance goals can be coactivated;. The autonomic response associated with challenge and threat is extended beyond the sympathetic nervous system to include indices of the parasympathetic nervous system;. Threat is not necessarily unhelpful to performance;.
The development of applied interventions that recognize the utility of threat among athletes. Influenced by the biopsychosocial BPS model of challenge and threat e. In this section, we first briefly describe the BPS and TCTSA approaches, and second, outline what we perceive to be several limitations associated with these perspectives. Briefly stated, the biopsychosocial BPS model of challenge and threat provides a framework which suggests that motivated performance situations can be appraised as either a challenge or threat and that these psychological states differ in the constellation of physiological particularly cardiovascular markers e.
According to this theory, a challenge state occurs when the situation is appraised as self-relevant and the individual perceives sufficient or nearly sufficient personal resources to meet or exceed the demands of the task. In a threat state, the situation is also appraised as self-relevant, but the individual perceives insufficient personal resources to meet the demands of the task c. The theory further suggests that these cognitive evaluations precede the physiological responses to a stressful situation Tomaka et al.
Specifically, it is contended that higher levels of perceived control and self-efficacy coupled with the adoption of approach goals elicit a challenge state, whereas lower perceived control and self-efficacy coupled with the adoption of avoidance goals evoke a threat state. Similar to Blascovich and colleagues, Jones et al.
Cardiac output is computed as heart rate x stroke volume amount of blood expelled from left ventricle on a heart beat and total peripheral resistance as the resistance to flow in the vascular network Wright and Kirby, Challenge is characterized by relatively greater cardiac reactivity increased CO and a decrease in TPR.
In contrast threat is characterized by no change or an increase in TPR and no change or a small increase in CO Blascovich and Tomaka, ; Blascovich and Mendes, Alongside the cardiovascular CV changes, challenge and threat states in the TCTSA model also shape the valence and interpretation of emotions i.
Although these patterns may be typical, it is also plausible according to TCTSA that negatively toned emotions such as anger can be experienced in a challenge state. On the one hand, there is considerable evidence supporting many of the tenets of the BPS model e.
Indeed, evidence to date suggests that both the BPS model and TCTSA have made valuable and important contributions to our understanding of challenge and threat broadly, and in sport specifically. Why then is an alternative conceptualization needed? As outlined below, we contend that 1 there are two significant measurement limitations currently inherent in both the BPS model and TCTSA that constrain the questions we ask, the research we conduct, and the applications we espouse and 2 research in related areas suggests that current models of challenge and threat are insufficient to capture the complexity and array of responses that humans have evolved to manage stressful situations.
The first major limitation of the BPS model is that challenge and threat states represent opposite ends of a unidimensional continuum rather than two dichotomous states, allowing researchers to examine relative rather than absolute differences in challenge and threat i. Similarly, the TCTSA draws upon the BPS model at least in its physiological measures such that challenge and threat physiological indices have been operationalized in a similar way.
In terms of operationalizing demand and resource appraisals, typically, in this literature, two items e. Others have used a single item to assess the degree of challenge or threat c. Turner et al. The ratio measure is limited as depicted in Figure 1. For example, the same ratio score could denote very different locations in evaluative space and ratio measures also possess a largely nonlinear distribution Hase et al.
Wright and Kirby have arguably provided the most elaborate critique of the cardiovascular correlates of the biopsychosocial approach to challenge and threat. In brief, there are both conceptual and empirical grounds for questioning the CV responses associated with the BPS model of challenge and threat. Specifically, whereas Dienstbier , and the ESACT model outlined herein , assumes that challenge occurs when there is opportunity for growth, and threat occurs when there is potential for harm or loss, the BPS model proposes that challenge and threat occur as a function of the relation between demands and resources.
Wright and Kirby argue that this difference is not trivial and therefore assumptions regarding the activity of SAM and PAC associated with challenge and threat are not well founded. Similarly, SAM activation is associated with the release of both epinethrine and norepinethrine — and circulating norepinethrine is exclusively constrictive. Thus the vasodilatory effect associated with challenge and predictions associated with the index of TPR more generally may be viewed somewhat cautiously.
Importantly, innervation of the cardiac muscle is by efferent branches of both sympathetic and parasympathetic arms of the autonomic nervous system e. For example, Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia RSA or low-frequency Heart Rate Variability Billman, is widely purported to be an index of parasympathetic activation, has been associated with the behavioral activation system Blair et al.
Moreover, breathing interventions have been demonstrated to facilitate RSA and to lower blood pressure responses to a stressor Steffen et al. Whether it is improved measurement or clarification of moderating and mediating variables that may explain departures from hypotheses proposed by the BPS model or TCTSA, these improvements alone will not suffice to reconcile the more fundamental difficulties associated with the BPS model and TCTSA.
Specifically, the essence of the bipolar configuration of challenge and threat upon which these models are based are arguably not in accord with evidence emerging from related literature, and collectively begin to explain why, when not placed in artificial experimental procedures, individuals report experiencing both challenge and threat e.
We summarize these briefly below. Here, we briefly outline evidence supporting the bivalent activation of appraisals. There is a growing body of research that supports the proposition that the same mental representation is linked in memory to both positive and negative evaluations Zayas and Shoda, Such a stance is consistent with approaches that consider the human mind as being highly attuned to both rewarding and punishing aspects of the environment e.
More specifically, there is growing support for the contention that evaluations of positivity and negativity reflect two distinct and separable neural systems: one that is sensitive to appetitive cues and the other to aversive cues. These initial evaluations occur in parallel and independently e. Indeed, in a review of neuroscience literature, Man et al. This suggests that conceiving a situation as an opportunity both for gain and loss is consistent with the idea that challenge and threat can be activated independently i.
Dual models of attention further corroborate the notion that more than one feature of a stimulus can be attended to simultaneously e. Across a number of areas that focus on approach and avoidance motivations, there is philosophical, conceptual, and empirical support for the distinction between, and coactivation of, approach and avoidance goals e.
Reviewing the literature on approach and avoidance motivations and goals is beyond the scope of this literature. For the purposes of this argument, we present a synopsis of what we perceive to be several important observations regarding approach and avoidance goals for the advancement of understanding of challenge and threat. First, there have been considerable psychometric studies exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses that support the separation of performance-approach, and performance-avoidance goals.
Second, in a meta-analysis, Hulleman et al. From a practical perspective, a moderate correlation suggests that in naturalistic domains such as sport, the active pursuit of performance-approach goals may easily be coactivated with performance-avoidance goals c.
Law et al. Third, Law et al. As described by Law et al. If approach and avoidance goals can be activated not only independently, but in combination, this represents a subtle but important conceptual distinction that, allied to the bivalent activation of appraisals described above and mixed emotional experiences described below , suggests that the bipolar approach to challenge and threat represents at best a partial and incomplete picture of the evaluative space.
Indeed, similar to performance-approach and performance-avoidance goals, there is theoretical and practical utility in identifying the unique precursors associated with the independent and coactivated challenge and threat states.
Recent literature has adopted a similar approach when examining constructs such as emotion. For example, Larsen et al. Larsen et al. Moreover, Larsen et al. University students were given the measure on a typical day and then on a move-out day leaving university. Participants were more likely to report experiencing both happiness and sadness when they completed the self-report measure on a move-out day compared to a typical day.
This was similar to findings on graduation day, among graduates and nongraduates, with graduates experiencing both happiness and sadness simultaneously. In the sport domain, athletes reported experiencing a mix of emotions, indicative of experiencing both challenge and threat in anticipation of a competition Cerin, Beyond emotions experienced subjectively, at a psychophysiological level, these mixed emotional reactions i.
Kreibig et al. In a similar way, and as outlined below, the bipolar configuration of challenge and threat states does not allow for the possibility being both challenged and threatened and is characterized by an emergent and unique constellation of physiological indices distinct from being either challenged or threatened.
In sum, this section illustrates several lines of converging evidence that supports an alternative conceptualization of challenge and threat. Specifically, the extant bipolar configuration, although it has some utility in circumstances where challenge and threat are reciprocally activated, does not adequately capture the full range of challenging and threatening experiences that individuals can experience.
Indeed, this contrasts with the earlier views of Lazarus and Folkman , and other researchers e. In what is a complex and dynamic world, the ability to respond quickly and flexibly to a stimulus that is hostile, hospitable, or has features of both is critical to our social interactions, and from an evolutionary perspective, our survival c.
Norris et al. Indeed, it is proposed that the differentiation of hostile from hospitable stimuli is so fundamental to mammalian survival that this behavioral organization is found at multiple levels of the neuraxis, ranging from the spinal cord to the neocortex Ito and Cacioppo, ; Berntson and Cacioppo, According to Cacioppo and colleagues, although the primary function of the affect system is to discriminate harmful from helpful, good from bad, appetitive from aversive, the structure of the underlying system is not constrained to a bipolar configuration; rather, our affective system is organized in a bivalenced manner defined at least partially by separable systems for processing positive and negative stimuli.
The structure of the question implies that evaluative judgments about such disappointing wins Larsen et al. The literature on challenge and threat broadly, and in sport specifically, is severely limited by the bipolar conceptualization and may benefit from an alternative conceptualization: namely one in which challenge and threat can be coactivated Cacioppo and Berntson, From this perspective, the bipolar argument is not completely rejected; instead the bipolar conceptualization and assumption of reciprocal activation is subsumed within a model that affords multiple modes of activation.
Moreover, as Crum et al. Whereas the BPS model and TCTSA have adopted a bipolar approach to challenge and threat, these only allow for a reciprocal mode of activation, that is, as one e. Namely, challenge and threat can be characterised by 1 reciprocal activation i. For example, a rally which an individual wins would likely enhance challenge opportunity for gain and reduce threat potential for loss. An example of a scenario in which only challenge would be evoked is when runners set a spontaneous self-referenced goal to enhance their split times during a training session.
Challenge and threat states predict future performance; however, no research has examined their immediate effect on motor task performance. The present study examined the effect of challenge and threat states on golf putting performance and several possible mechanisms. One hundred twenty-seven participants were assigned to a challenge or threat group and performed six putts during which emotions, gaze, putting kinematics, muscle activity, and performance were recorded. Challenge and threat states were successively manipulated via task instructions. The challenge group performed more accurately, reported more favorable emotions, and displayed more effective gaze, putting kinematics, and muscle activity than the threat group. Multiple putting kinematic variables mediated the relationship between group and performance, suggesting that challenge and threat states impact performance at a predominately kinematic level. Like many other contexts e.
Predicting athletic performance from cardiovascular indexes of challenge and These physiological challenge/threat indexes significantly predicted athletic to focus on themselves while performing a manual dexterity task caused them to.
There are few more demanding working environments than that faced by security and elite military personnel. The situations faced are uncertain, changeable and dangerous requiring accurate decision-making, skilled movement and co-ordinated action. Understanding how people respond psychologically and physiologically in demanding settings has been the focus of research that I and colleagues have undertaken over the last 10 years. We have explored the subtle psychological and physiological differences that indicate whether a person is challenged or threatened under demanding conditions, why a person who is challenged performs better, and how social interaction, leadership and lifestyle can influence these responses. The terms challenge and threat are used to describe psychological and physiological differences that relate to performance.
There are few more demanding working environments than that faced by security and elite military personnel. The situations faced are uncertain, changeable and dangerous requiring accurate decision-making, skilled movement and co-ordinated action. Understanding how people respond psychologically and physiologically in demanding settings has been the focus of research that I and colleagues have undertaken over the last 10 years.
This manuscript provides a critical review of the literature examining challenge and threat in sport, tracing its historical development and some of the current empirical ambiguities. To reconcile some of these ambiguities, and utilizing neurobiological evidence associated with approach and avoidance motivation c. For example, rather than see challenge and threat as opposite ends of a single bipolar continuum, the ESM implies that individuals could be 1 challenged, 2 threatened, 3 challenged and threatened, or 4 neither challenged or threatened by a particular stimulus. From this perspective, it could be argued that the appraisal of some sport situations as both challenging and threatening could be advantageous, whereas the current literature seems to imply that the appraisal of stress as a threat is maladaptive for performance. The ESACT provides several testable hypotheses for advancing understanding of challenge and threat in sport and we describe a number of measures that can be used to examine these hypotheses. In sum, this paper provides a significant theoretical, empirical, and practical contribution to our understanding of challenge and threat in sport.
There was support for many of the 15 predictions in the TCTSA, with two main areas for reflection identified: to understand the physiology of challenge and to re-evaluate the concept of resource appraisals. This re-evaluation informs the TCTSA-R, which elucidates the physiological changes, predispositions, and cognitive appraisals that mark challenge and threat states. First, the relative strength of the sympathetic nervous system response is outlined as a determinant of challenge and threat patterns of reactivity and we suggest that oxytocin and neuropeptide Y are also key indicators of an adaptive approach to motivated performance situations and can facilitate a challenge state.
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