Sport Psychology (Routledge Modular Psychology)

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View Larger Image. Ask Seller a Question. Title: Sport Psychology Routledge Modular Sport Psychology is an introductory account of the major psychological issues in sport today. Major theories and up-to-date research are covered in the areas of personality, attitudes to sport, aggression in sport, anxiety and stress, social influences, motivation, and skill acquisition.

A wide variety of sporting examples are used, ranging from football to ballet.

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If your book order is heavy or oversized, we may contact you to let you know extra shipping is required. List this Seller's Books. As noted in the table below, traits may also be exaptations , byproducts of adaptations sometimes called "spandrels" , or random variation between individuals. Psychological adaptations are hypothesized to be innate or relatively easy to learn, and to manifest in cultures worldwide. For example, the ability of toddlers to learn a language with virtually no training is likely to be a psychological adaptation.

On the other hand, ancestral humans did not read or write, thus today, learning to read and write require extensive training, and presumably represent byproducts of cognitive processing that use psychological adaptations designed for other functions. For example, Caucasians who move from a northern climate to the equator will have darker skin. The mechanisms regulating their pigmentation do not change; rather the input to those mechanisms change, resulting in different output. One of the tasks of evolutionary psychology is to identify which psychological traits are likely to be adaptations, byproducts or random variation.

George C. Williams suggested that an "adaptation is a special and onerous concept that should only be used where it is really necessary. A question that may be asked about an adaptation is whether it is generally obligate relatively robust in the face of typical environmental variation or facultative sensitive to typical environmental variation.

By contrast, facultative adaptations are somewhat like "if-then" statements. For example, adult attachment style seems particularly sensitive to early childhood experiences. As adults, the propensity to develop close, trusting bonds with others is dependent on whether early childhood caregivers could be trusted to provide reliable assistance and attention.

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The adaptation for skin to tan is conditional to exposure to sunlight; this is an example of another facultative adaptation. When a psychological adaptation is facultative, evolutionary psychologists concern themselves with how developmental and environmental inputs influence the expression of the adaptation.

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Evolutionary psychologists hold that behaviors or traits that occur universally in all cultures are good candidates for evolutionary adaptations. Basic gender differences, such as greater eagerness for sex among men and greater coyness among women, [36] are explained as sexually dimorphic psychological adaptations that reflect the different reproductive strategies of males and females. Evolutionary psychology argues that to properly understand the functions of the brain, one must understand the properties of the environment in which the brain evolved.

That environment is often referred to as the "environment of evolutionary adaptedness".

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The idea of an environment of evolutionary adaptedness was first explored as a part of attachment theory by John Bowlby. More specifically, the environment of evolutionary adaptedness is defined as the set of historically recurring selection pressures that formed a given adaptation, as well as those aspects of the environment that were necessary for the proper development and functioning of the adaptation.

Humans, comprising the genus Homo , appeared between 1. Because the Pleistocene ended a mere 12, years ago, most human adaptations either newly evolved during the Pleistocene, or were maintained by stabilizing selection during the Pleistocene. Evolutionary psychology therefore proposes that the majority of human psychological mechanisms are adapted to reproductive problems frequently encountered in Pleistocene environments.

The environment of evolutionary adaptedness is significantly different from modern society. The characteristics of the niche are largely the same as for social mammals, who evolved over 30 million years ago: soothing perinatal experience, several years of on-request breastfeeding, nearly constant affection or physical proximity, responsiveness to need mitigating offspring distress , self-directed play, and for humans, multiple responsive caregivers. Initial studies show the importance of these components in early life for positive child outcomes.

Evolutionary psychologists sometimes look to chimpanzees, bonobos, and other great apes for insight into human ancestral behavior. Since an organism's adaptations were suited to its ancestral environment, a new and different environment can create a mismatch. Because humans are mostly adapted to Pleistocene environments, psychological mechanisms sometimes exhibit "mismatches" to the modern environment. One example is the fact that although about 10, people are killed with guns in the US annually, [46] whereas spiders and snakes kill only a handful, people nonetheless learn to fear spiders and snakes about as easily as they do a pointed gun, and more easily than an unpointed gun, rabbits or flowers.

There is thus a mismatch between humans' evolved fear-learning psychology and the modern environment. This mismatch also shows up in the phenomena of the supernormal stimulus , a stimulus that elicits a response more strongly than the stimulus for which the response evolved. The term was coined by Niko Tinbergen to refer to non-human animal behavior, but psychologist Deirdre Barrett said that supernormal stimulation governs the behavior of humans as powerfully as that of other animals. She explained junk food as an exaggerated stimulus to cravings for salt, sugar, and fats, [50] and she says that television is an exaggeration of social cues of laughter, smiling faces and attention-grabbing action.

The human mind still responds to personalized, charismatic leadership primarily in the context of informal, egalitarian settings. Hence the dissatisfaction and alienation that many employees experience. Salaries, bonuses and other privileges exploit instincts for relative status, which attract particularly males to senior executive positions.

Evolutionary theory is heuristic in that it may generate hypotheses that might not be developed from other theoretical approaches. One of the major goals of adaptationist research is to identify which organismic traits are likely to be adaptations, and which are byproducts or random variations. As noted earlier, adaptations are expected to show evidence of complexity, functionality, and species universality, while byproducts or random variation will not.

In addition, adaptations are expected to manifest as proximate mechanisms that interact with the environment in either a generally obligate or facultative fashion see above. Evolutionary psychologists are also interested in identifying these proximate mechanisms sometimes termed "mental mechanisms" or "psychological adaptations" and what type of information they take as input, how they process that information, and their outputs.

Evolutionary psychologists use several strategies to develop and test hypotheses about whether a psychological trait is likely to be an evolved adaptation. Buss [55] notes that these methods include:. Evolutionary psychologists also use various sources of data for testing, including experiments, archaeological records , data from hunter-gatherer societies, observational studies, neuroscience data, self-reports and surveys, public records , and human products.

Foundational areas of research in evolutionary psychology can be divided into broad categories of adaptive problems that arise from the theory of evolution itself: survival, mating, parenting, family and kinship, interactions with non-kin, and cultural evolution. Problems of survival are clear targets for the evolution of physical and psychological adaptations. Major problems the ancestors of present-day humans faced included food selection and acquisition; territory selection and physical shelter; and avoiding predators and other environmental threats. Consciousness meets George Williams ' criteria of species universality, complexity, [62] and functionality, and it is a trait that apparently increases fitness.

In his paper "Evolution of consciousness," John Eccles argues that special anatomical and physical adaptations of the mammalian cerebral cortex gave rise to consciousness.


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The concept of consciousness can refer to voluntary action, awareness, or wakefulness. However, even voluntary behavior involves unconscious mechanisms. Many cognitive processes take place in the cognitive unconscious, unavailable to conscious awareness. Some behaviors are conscious when learned but then become unconscious, seemingly automatic.

Learning, especially implicitly learning a skill, can take place outside of consciousness. For example, plenty of people know how to turn right when they ride a bike, but very few can accurately explain how they actually do so. Evolutionary psychology approaches self-deception as an adaptation that can improve one's results in social exchanges. Sleep may have evolved to conserve energy when activity would be less fruitful or more dangerous, such as at night, and especially during the winter season.

Many experts, such as Jerry Fodor , write that the purpose of perception is knowledge, but evolutionary psychologists hold that its primary purpose is to guide action. Building and maintaining sense organs is metabolically expensive, so these organs evolve only when they improve an organism's fitness. Scientists who study perception and sensation have long understood the human senses as adaptations to their surrounding worlds.

Homing pigeons, for example, can hear very low-pitched sound infrasound that carries great distances, even though most smaller animals detect higher-pitched sounds.


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Evolutionary psychologists contend that perception demonstrates the principle of modularity, with specialized mechanisms handling particular perception tasks. In evolutionary psychology, learning is said to be accomplished through evolved capacities, specifically facultative adaptations.