Attention Training for Athletes: A Feasibility Assessment

Carli Kugel, “Attention Training for Athletes: A Feasibility Assessment”
Mentors: Han Joo Lee & Maryam Ayazi, Psychology

Many athletes face negative consequences due to performance anxiety. One possible consequence may be how performance anxiety could affect attention negatively. Relevant literature suggests attention bias modification (ABM) as an effective treatment and modification for social-evaluative anxiety, and threat biases. The present study investigated ABM as a feasible therapeutic intervention for athletes who experience performance anxiety in competitive trapshooting. Computerized attention training was specifically utilized. This type of attention training is important because web-based interventions allow for accessible treatment and portability. Athletes recruited for ABM training were between the ages of 12 to 18. Once recruited, participants completed an online consent form, and pre-screening questions. A baseline assessment was then administered which involved questionnaires and AB assessment. A demographic survey and multiple psychological questionnaires assessed demographic information, and other emotional variables pertaining to sport anxiety. Baseline AB assessment was tested by Posner’s Spatial Cueing Task–a computerized attention task. After baseline assessment, participants were randomly assigned to active ABM or ACC (control) condition. There were 8 training sessions across a 4-week span. After the first 4 ABM sessions, midtraining assessment was distributed. After training was complete, a post-training assessment and a one month follow up assessment were provided. A total of 14 participants were recruited, and of these 14 participants, 6 fully completed ABM training. To conclude, this study provides feasibility in ABM training for performance anxiety in athletes. Due to difficulties the athletes faced, such as school workload, and busy schedules, it was difficult for all recruited participants to complete full training, hence a high withdrawal rate. This study can help further future research on performance anxiety in athletes because it provides pilot data which examines the feasibility, and clinical usefulness of ABM as a therapeutic intervention.

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  1. Hello everyone!

    My name is Carli Kugel, and I am currently an Undergraduate Sophomore pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. I hope you enjoyed my presentation and poster. The research was conducted in the Anxiety Disorders Lab (ADL) here at UWM. I have learned so much along the way, and I am enjoying my time immensely in the lab. Being apart of the ADL research team allows me to work with amazing mentors and gain important skills and knowledge as I pursue research further. Thank you so much to my amazing mentors Dr. Han Joo Lee and Maryam Ayazi for supporting and guiding me along my research journey.

    If you have any questions or suggestions for me about my research, I encourage you to leave a comment! I hope you learned something new, and thank you for taking the time to view and listen to the research I have worked very hard on.

    Thank you again,
    Carli Kugel

  2. Thanks for sharing your project, Carli! I wish I could have talked to you to learn more about the specific nature of performance anxiety, ABM, and Posner’s Spatial Cueing Task. I don’t feel like I really understand what they are based on the poster and the video. It looks like this was a good experience that you learned a lot from!

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