The use of arousing and relaxing classical music for novices and elite performers of fine-motor and power skill tasks

Kuan, Garry and Morris, Tony and Terry, Peter (2014) The use of arousing and relaxing classical music for novices and elite performers of fine-motor and power skill tasks. In: 28th International Congress of Applied Psychology: From Crisis to Sustainable Well-being (ICAP 2014), 8-13 July 2014, Paris, France.


Imagery and music are widely used in performance enhancement in sport. The purpose of this study was to examine the role of relaxing and arousing music during imagery on subsequent sports performance in two linked studies. In Study 1, participants were 63 sport science students with intermediate imagery ability, measured by the Sport Imagery Ability Measure (SIAM). They were novices at the fine motor skill of darts. We matched participants into three groups: 1) unfamiliar relaxing music during imagery (URMI), 2) unfamiliar arousing music during imagery (UAMI); and 3) no music during imagery (NMI - control). We employed a pre-test-intervention-post-test design with 40 trials of throwing darts at a concentric circles dartboard before and after 12 sessions of imagery of the dart-throwing task over 4 weeks. In Study 2, participants were semi-professional elite shooters (n = 26) and weightlifters (n = 25) with moderate to high imagery ability measured by SIAM. In both sports, participants were assigned at random to one of two interventions: URMI and UAMI. This produced four conditions: fine motor task (pistol shooting) with either relaxing (URMI; matched) or arousing (UAMI; mismatched) music, and power task (weightlifting) with either relaxing (URMI; mismatched) or arousing (UAMI; matched) music. Shooting and weightlifting performances were measured in simulated competitions of 10m air-pistol, and Clean and Jerk respectively. All participants completed 12 sessions of imagery before the post-test was conducted. In Studies 1 and 2, GSR, PT, and HR were measured in Session 1 and Session 12 to examine physiological arousal. Results from Study 1 indicate that although performance improved in all three conditions after imagery practice, unfamiliar relaxing music was associated with the largest increase in performance. This was expected for a fine motor skill. Contrary to previous findings when music was played before or during actual sports tasks, in Study 2, unfamiliar relaxing music facilitated imagery of both fine-motor and power sports tasks, suggesting that relaxation plays a role in the imagery of sports skills. The finding is of great value to practising sport psychologists, who can advise athletes to use URMI to lower level of physiological arousal during imagery training sessions.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Only abstracts published in conference proceedings, as supplied here. Permanent restricted access to published version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Psychology, Counselling and Community
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2016 23:46
Last Modified: 02 Mar 2018 03:40
Uncontrolled Keywords: imagery; performance; music
Fields of Research : 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170112 Sensory Processes, Perception and Performance
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170114 Sport and Exercise Psychology
19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing > 190408 Music Therapy
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences

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