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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 15-25

Impact of Decomposition of Autonomic Tonic and Phasic Responses on Predictors of Reaction Performance in Elite Malaysian Swimmers

Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Exercise & Sports Sciences, School of Health Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kota Bharu, Malaysia, 16150, Malaysia

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Psychobiological predictors of emotionality were evaluated in relations to complex reaction and movement performances have been considered as the significant aspect of research interest. Considerable research base confirms that the expert players employ more pertinent search strategies, eliminate irrelevant cues which enable them to effectively anticipate action requirements and they have superior ability to use cue-related information to reliably anticipate occurrence of relevant events. Present study was aimed at identification of intricate relationship between the ability of the high performing swimmers (National – level swimmers of Malaysia) in anticipatory cue-utilization and corresponding autonomic phasic skin conductance responses isolated from the tonic measures. Altogether two-hundred and twenty-five individuals having high athletic calibre, and holding top-positions in recently held (within the period March 2011 up to the June 2011) National and International (Mostly ASEAN level) meets volunteered as the participants in this study. Simultaneous evaluation of autonomic arousal modulation (habituation paradigm tonic and phasic measures of skin conductance) was done when the swimmers were engaged in cue-related anticipatory task, associated with complex reaction performance. For this purpose, participants were evaluated intermittently (twice within the calendar year August 2010 – June 2011) with the identical research paradigm. Perceived sense of competence as well as the subjective feelings of apprehension of loosing was explored, and attempts were made to identify the obscure subjective expression of cognitive-emotional make-up, in explaining differential performance outcomes evident in the participants. Findings of multiple linear and polynomial regression analyses however suggested direct, inverse and supportive relationships between decomposition of skin conductance tonic and phasic autonomic components related to cognitive-affective and affective-motivational aspects of sports behaviour explaining pathways to both excellent and debilitative performance outcomes during practice sessions as well as in actual competitive situations.

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