Hilvari, H. (1996). Effects of mental practice on performance are moderated by cognitive anxiety as measured by the Sport Competition Anxiety Test. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 83, 1375-1383.

Ss (N = 45) were assessed for cognitive anxiety on the Sport Competition Anxiety Test (SCAT). Two months later they observed a person performing a new motor task which required high levels of cognitive processing (e.g., a variety of tasks in a specified order) to be performed well. Ss (N = 23) were then assigned to a mental practice group (the task was cognitively rehearsed) and a control group (N = 22) wit no mental practice. Performance on the observed task was measured.

Errors and performance time interacted significantly with mental practice and no practice and SCAT scores. In the mental practice group, low SCAT scorers performed better than those scoring high. There was no effect of anxiety on control group performances.

Implication. In cognitively-controlled physical tasks, when mental practice is involved, level of anxiety affects performances. When no mental practice is involved, anxiety does not affect performance.

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