Evidence for the effectiveness of holistic process goals for learning and performance under pressure

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Objectives:Research has suggested that holistic process goals might help avoid the effects associated with conscious processing of task relevant information by skilled but anxious athletes. This experiment compared the efficacy of holistic and part process goal strategies for novices using a learning paradigm.Design:Laboratory-based experimental design incorporating practice, retention and transfer phases.Method:Twenty-four males were randomly assigned to a part process goal, holistic process goal or control condition and performed a simulated race-driving task in practice, retention and transfer tests.Results:Analyses of variance revealed that performance during practice was similar in all conditions but that the holistic process goal group outperformed the part process goal group at both retention and transfer.Conclusions:Compared to part process goals, holistic process goals result in more effective motor learning and performance that appears to be more robust under pressure.HighlightsThis study is the first to examine the relative effectiveness of part and holistic process goals for motor learning.Holistic process goals are more effective than part process goals for the acquisition of simulated driving skills.Relative to part process goals, holistic process goals produce more resilient driving performance when individuals are cognitively anxious.

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