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Is It All In Your Head?

Considering the theory of functional equivalence and the neurocognitive explanation, is imagery effective for performance improvement or is it just a placebo affect? Why?



Considering the theory of functional equivalence and the neurocognitive explanation, is imagery effective for performance improvement or is it just a placebo affect? Why?


When it comes to performance, imagery and visualization are the mainstay for many high-level performers. An individual's thought process, what they see, and what they think they see plays heavily into the mental environment that they create for themselves. What makes this conversation even more subjective is the fact that often times, if not always, imagery and visualization cannot be statistically measured. It is for this reason that many antagonists of imagery methodologies remain staunch in their beliefs.


"An individual's thought process, what they see, and what they think they see plays heavily into the mental environment that they create for themselves.”

It goes without saying that many games were won because of phenomenal halftime speeches given by coaches who were able to paint a lucid vision for their team using imagery. Motivational speakers from across the world make millions of dollars using imagery, and have a great success doing it. Emotion is one of the most powerful constructs that is affected by imagery. Baltes et al (2014) pose that imagery is one of the most important mechanisms in which music can elicit emotion in an audience. At the end of the day, it comes down to an individual's belief system. Ultimately, if they believe in the implementation and execution of imagery and it happens to yield results, it is likely that an athlete or a high-level performer will return to this proverbial well. If an athlete is not fully invested, or does not receive substantial results from utilizing imagery techniques, it is likely that they will be discarded and thus abel it as a placebo.


References:

Balteș, F., & Miu, A. C. (2014). Emotions during live music performance: Links with individual differences in empathy, visual imagery, and mood. Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, And Brain, 24(1), 58-65. doi:10.1037/pmu0000030










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