Enhanced or diminished expectancies in golf putting – Which actually affects performance?

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Objective:To examine whether performance expectancies enhance or diminish the learning of a putting task in golf. More specifically, our aim was to replicate a previous study (Palmer, Chiviacowsky, & Wulf, 2016), but to add a control group, in order to more accurately assess whether a large circle around the target enhances putting performance and whether a small circle diminishes it.Design:Laboratory experimental design with three groups: (a) a large-circle group (LCG), (b) a small-circle group (SCG), and (c) a control group (no circle around the target; CG).Method:Participants were asked to perform a putting task aimed at either a target surrounded by a large circle (14 cm in diameter) or a small circle (7 cm), or at a target with no surrounding circle. Participants completed a pre-test of five putting trials, followed by five blocks of 10 putting trials each. Two days later they performed retention and transfer tests consisting of 12 putting trials each.Results:Absolute error was significantly smaller in the LCG than in the SCG or CG in the transfer task.Conclusion:Putting performance was found to be facilitated by enhanced expectancies.

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