Bar-Eli, M. "Performance of Pilots and Nonpilots on an Attention-determined Psychomotor Task", The Journal of General Psychology, 10-01-98
When operating a technologically advanced aircraft, one's psychomotor coordination and ability to learn motor skills must be very fluid with quick precision, which requires a great amount of attention. Experimenters made the hypothesis that pilots would have a better attention control skills than nonpilots would. Forty subjects were selected, 20 pilots and 20 physical education students. The subjects were asked to complete two tasks, which involved throwing darts at targets. The experiment results supported the hypothesis because the pilots did indeed have better results. Both groups did improve their motor skills throughout the experiment's trials, but the pilots' rate of learning was more effective. We can use this information in the future by possibly developing similar experiments to aid in the means of pilot selection.
Palmer, James L. "A Study of the Effects of Visual Occlusion on Motor and Spatial Adults." 01-15-98
Most legally blind individuals that are served by blind rehabilitation agencies are able to eventually retain some vision. For individuals that suffer severe vision losses, this is not always an option, and the patient is forced to learn some nonvisual skills. One way of teaching these skills is by total visual occlusion. Total visual occlusion is believed to be effective because subjects will not be able to rely on their vision to aid other senses. Experimenters selected 28 veterans with a mean age of 60.8 years and did some tests on them to see if the use of visual occlusion resulted in increased motor and spatial learning. The results of the experiments show that this method of training significantly increased performance for most individuals. If this method of training continues to attain these results, researchers believe this could greatly improve the living condition for visually impaired individuals.
Haywood, Kathleen M. "Environmental Versus Biological Influences on Gender Differences in the Overarm Throw for Force-Dominant and Nondominant Arm Throws" Women in Sport & Physical Activity Journal. 09-01-96
The question of why males tend to be able to throw something in an overarm manner faster than females has been debated for years. Researchers set out to determine whether there is a biological or environmental reason for this. They hypothesized that when prepubertal children were tested throwing a ball in an overarm manner, the results would show that gender differences would disappear because biological differences between boys and girls before they reach puberty are quite small. The results of the experiment show that females and males demonstrated no difference in velocity when throwing with the nondominant limb. However, when the subjects were tested with their dominant hand, the typical pattern of gender differences was observed. This experiment has supported the hypothesis that environmental factors such as practice may greatly increase motor skill efficiency and that it is most likely the practice being done that initially separates female and male athletes.
Schroth, Marvin L. "Variable Delay of Feedback Procedures and Subsequent Concept Formation Transfer" The Journal of General Psychology. 10-01-95
Students are always anxious to receive their graded tests back, and in the past, people believed getting tests and other assignments back to the students as quickly as possible was the best thing to do. Recently their have been some studies done that support the idea that delaying the feedback may actually increase the amount of retention (delayed retention effect, DRE). An experiment was designed to attain evidence that would help people see which method was better. The results show that the subjects in the 0 second delay groups learned the task in the fewest number of trials, followed in order by the 10 second and 30 second groups. These results support the idea that the practice conditions that inhibit the acquisition of a task will affect retention or learning, and that quicker feedback will usually result in better retention.
McCallum, Jack. "Women's Basketball: The Female Knee is a Joint and not an Entertainment" Sports Illustrated. 02-13-1995
Injuries to the knee, especially the ACL, are very serious injuries, and can be caused when playing any sport. Though a torn ACL can happen to anybody, people are noticing that women are being inflicted with this injury far more than men playing the same sport. Alex Kane, a trainer at the University of Iowa, has a theory of why this is occurring. He believes that girls are not being exposed to motor learning skills at critical periods in their early development, and that is the reason so many women are suffering from knee injuries. He states that because of this, " women have impaired neuromuscular coordination and the foundation is simply not there. Girls are not taught it and are not encouraged to learn it." Kane believes that boys are more involved in vigorous activities and therefore learn the motor skills required to prevent these injuries. At the time of this article, the number of women with ACL tears in the six major college basketball conferances was 83. The men's total was 26. Though not everybody agrees with Kane's theory, most do believe that good strength and flexibility will decrease the likelihood of torn ACL's occurring.
Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent, March 1999, "Food Supplement creatine may help muscular disease"
In recent studies, patients with diseases such as muscular dystrophy and other muscle weakening diseases have been found to show significant improvement in muscle strength when taking creatine. In a second study, the affects of creatine were tested on mice bred which were infected with Lou Gehrig's disease. The mice were found to have improved movement and longer life span than those on normal diets. Creatine was more affective than the only other drug on the market approved for Lou Gehrig's disease, Rhone-Poulenc Rorer's Riluzole. Though this evidence looks great, studies involving the long-term use of creatine will be done in the future. Many skeptics of creatine and its possible affects on the kidneys still need to be convinced of its effectiveness.
Liz Applegate, Runner's World, September 1998, "Looking for a boost"
Recently, many performance-boosting supplements have been released on to the market. At the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, researchers looked into many of these supplements and tested their effectiveness. Many did not perform as well as expected but three out did the rest of the field; chromium, creatine, and pyruvate. Tests showed that cyclists using chromium had improved performance that those without it. When taking a closer look at creatine, researchers found that it probably isn't the best supplement for runners and swimmers because of the tremendous weight gain. Pyruvate showed that it does serve as a fat burner, but only when taken in doses that exceed the amount recommended on the label. Because of the cost of pyruvate, researchers do not recommend it. Though all three of these supplements have been shown to show good results, the benefits may not apply to all.
Nanci Hellmich, USA Today, June 1998, "Safety still a creatine issue, but research continues over long-term effects of muscle-builder"
Creatine, one of the most popular muscle-building supplements today, has been questioned since athletes began using it in the early 1990's. Many believe that it may cause dehydration, cramping, and harm to the kidneys. Though there has not been any problems found yet, the verdict is still out for many researchers. When three college wrestlers died in 1997, creatine was thought to possibly be at fault. USA Today also surveyed 115 professional football, baseball, basketball, and hockey teams about their views on creatine. Of the 71 that responded, the results show that the more physical sports of basketball, hockey, and football seem to be more open to creatine, while not many baseball teams supported it.
Vahe Gregorian, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 1998, "The Muscle Tussle"
The supplement creatine is currently being taken by 25 percent of professional baseball, basketball, and hockey players and about 50 percent of the players in the NFL. This increased popularity in professional sports is spreading to high schools across the nation. St. Mary's High School, outside St. Louis is experiencing a big growth in creatine's popularity, especially among its football players. Because of this, head coach Jim Blanke, decided to give creatine a try. He found the effects amazing, and while working out, his muscle fatigue was cut down greatly. Creatine is also being credited for stimulating sexual energy, relieving joints, reducing cholesterol, encourage mental alertness and other things. Though all of this sounds great, University of Missouri associates state nutrition specialist, Melinda Hemmelgarn states, "If you think you're getting something for nothing, usually you just haven't gotten the bill yet."