Involuntary imagery predicts athletes' affective states.

John K Parker, Martin I Jones, Geoff P Lovell

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review


Involuntary imagery has received scant attention in the sport psychology literature, with most investigations concentrating on deliberate imagery use. This is surprising considering research has demonstrated that specific types of involuntary imagery exists and can elicit both facilitative and negative effects upon psychological and affective states. Therefore our study examined athletes' involuntary imagery types (intrusive-spontaneous) and the subsequent relationship with recorded state levels of positive and negative affect. Hierarchical regression analysis demonstrated that intrusive visual imagery accounted for 6.3 per cent of the variance in participants' negative affect scores with no further contribution to the models result observed with the introduction of spontaneous imagery. The second regression recorded that these involuntary visual imagery types contribute minimally to an athlete's positive affect in a noncompetitive environment. In conclusion, these findings provide evidence that practitioners should be vigilant of athletes experiencing involuntary visual imagery, as some images are likely to be accompanied with negative affect. ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-31
Number of pages10
JournalSport & Exercise Psychology Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • *IMAGERY (Psychology)
  • *SPORTS literature
  • *SPORTS psychologists
  • *SPORTS psychology
  • athlete
  • imagery
  • intrusive
  • involuntary
  • spontaneous
  • visual


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