2024 Undergraduate Research Showcase

Investigating the Neural Mechanisms Underlying Instructional Self-Talk: An EEG Study

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Mariane Bacelar


Research has shown that utilization of ‘self talk’, cues spoken to oneself verbally or internally, can effectively improve performance in various sport-related skills. Instructional self-talk, which is focused on directing one’s movements (e.g., swing-and-sink in golf) is often used in sports to enhance athletes’ performance, but to this date, there is little understanding of the mechanisms underlying the effect. To address this knowledge gap, the present study will analyze brain activity data collected from a self-talk study to investigate whether cognitive resource allocation changes as a function of the type of self-talk cue used. The study required participants to perform a golf putting task while implementing different types of self-talk cues. Brain activity via electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded during the entire experiment. For the analyses, we will focus on the upper-alpha power measure during movement preparation, which has been shown to reflect cognitive resource allocation during the motor programming stage (before the movement begins). Based on previous research, we predict that the use of self-talk cues that direct attention externally will result in more optimal cognitive resource allocation compared to the use of cues that direct attention internally.

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