Latest News

June 2022

New Paper on Imagery Interventions Published

Dr Mary Quinton and I recently published “Improving the reporting of sport imagery interventions with TIDieR” to provide new guidance on the reporting of imagery interventions, with the aim of more easily translating these into applied practice as well as replicating them in future research. We are argue that fuller, more accurate and standardized reporting of imagery interventions can be achieved by using the 12-item Template for Intervention Description and Replication (TIDieR; Hoffmann et al., 2014).

We use the TIDieR to describe a personalized guided imagery intervention for improving student-athletes’ regulatory responses to competitive anxiety (PACING). We think this paper offers practical and evidence-based guidance for researchers designing imagery interventions and recommendations to enable journal editors and reviewers to make easier judgements about rigor.

This open access paper was published in a special issue on Applying Imagery in Sport and Exercise in the Asian Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology. Edited by Prof Tony Morris of Victoria University, this special issue contains exciting new directions for the field including an updated version of the PETTLEP model.

October 2020

Funded PhD studentship available to research self-harm in dancers

Come study with us! We are recruiting candidates for an ESRC-funded collaborative PhD project with One Dance UK to start in October 2020.

Self-harm is a problem that dance teachers recognise in their students, but there is no current evidence-base to guide dance-specific practice and policy. This PhD project will be the first to determine the prevalence and predictors of deliberate self-harm in UK dancers training in vocational and private dance schools.

Using a mixed-methods approach, key questions to be addressed include: What is the prevalence of self-harm in dance students? What dance-specific/non-dance specific self-injury methods are used? Do disordered eating and/or body image concerns coincide with self-harm in dancers?

This PhD would be suitable for a candidate with an undergraduate degree in dance science, psychology, sport science, or sociology, though other strong and motivated applicants will be considered. Interests in child and adolescent mental health, the performing arts, and early specialisation would be valuable.

The successful candidate will be supervised by Dr Jennifer Cumming and Dr Anna Lavis from the Institute for Mental Health at the University of Birmingham, and Erin Sanchez from One Dance UK. They will be based within the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences and will undertake a research placement at One Dance UK’s new offices within the Dance Hub in Birmingham alongside the Birmingham Hippodrome, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Dance Xchange during the studentship.

The deadline for applying is 28th February 2020 and more details are available here.

Congratulations to Dr Anuar
Nurwina Anuar successfully defended her thesis on “Imagery Ability in Sport and Movement” on 21st October March 2016. Nurwina was supervised by Dr Sarah Williams and myself and she received funding from the Ministry of Malaysia Higher Education and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia for her PhD. Her research showing the effectiveness of using PETTLEP imagery to improve ease and vividness of external visual imagery, internal visual imagery, and kinesthetic imagery has already led to several publications.   She has also contributed to the literature by establishing a relationship between emotional regulation tendencies and sport imagery ability in athletes.  Her thesis was examined by Dr Martin Edwards (Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium) and Dr Maria Kavussanu (University of Birmingham), and chaired by Dr David Punt (University of Birmingham).

Watch Holi from #MST4Life on new Sky Sport chat show
A unique aspect of the #MST4Life is a joint session between St Basils and Edgbaston Cricket, and this will be featured on the upcoming new series of Ballsy Women.  In this preview, Holi, a young person living at St Basils and a recent graduate of MST4Life eloquently talks about the impact the programme has had on her.

MST4Life leaflet
#MST4Life Featured in New Leaflet 

Our Mental Skills Training for Life programme is featured in St Basils’ new leaflet highlighting their transformational services for homeless youth.  The leaflet was launched at a symposium event jointly hosted by St Basils and the University of Birmingham at Edgbaston Cricket Club on the 22nd of April 2016.

New Open Access Paper

Our latest paper investigating the psychosocial determinants of physical activity in older adults was published in Psychology & Health.  Led by Maria-Christina Kostelli as part of her PhD,  the findings outline the main barriers and enablers to physical activity in pre- and post-retirement adults, as well as emphasise the importance of other psychosocial determinants of physical activity according to social cognitive theory (e.g., social support, positive outcome expectations, and self-regulatory strategies).

Congratulations to Dr Kosteli

ESRC-funded PhD student, Maria-Christina Kosteli, successfully defended her thesis on “Imagery use in older adults” on 2nd March 2016.  Maria-Christina was supervised by Dr Sarah Williams and myself and has been an active member of the BRIO group.  Her research provides insight into perceptions of physical activity in healthy and unhealthy middle-aged and older adults underpinned by Bandura’s social-cognitive theory (SCT).  She also examined whether imagery could be a beneficial strategy to promote physical activity in this population.  Her thesis was examined by Dr Afroditi Stathi (University of Bath) and Dr Anna Philips (University of Birmingham), and chaired by Dr Rebekah Lucas (University of Birmingham).

Podcast on Imagery, Mental Skills and a Royal Visit!

It was a real pleasure to speak with former colleague, Dr Rob Grey, for his Perception and Action Podcast.  Rob’s fantastic podcast series focuses on sport science, psychology, analytics, and human factors, and features hot topics like “hot hands, cold hands, and performance streaks and “deliberate practice and the 10k hour rule”.  In our chat, Rob asked me about my research on imagery and mental skills training, both within sport and the latest work with young homeless people support by St Basils.  Rob’s website is and you can also him on twitter: @shakeywaits.

Co-Editor of Imagination, Cognition and Personality
I am pleased to announce that I will be the new Co-Editor of Imagination, Cognition, and Personality (ICP) along with Prof James Honeycutt of Louisiana State University and Prof Keith Markman of Ohio University. ICP is a quarterly journal published by Sage that has been publishing original research and theoretical work since 1981 with a focus on mental imagery and its application to therapy and rehabilitation, education, and performance.

Workshop and Presentation at FEPSAC 2015 conference
A view of the River Aare (Bern, Switzerland) taken by Dr Jennifer Cumming in July, 2015. All rights reserved.

Jennifer enjoyed participating in this summer’s FEPSAC conference held in the beautiful and historic city of Bern, Switzerland.  As part of the pre-conference sessions organised by ENYSSP, Jennifer along with her PhD student, Fredrik Weibull, delivered part of the BRIO workshop on how to develop more effective images by using layered stimulus response training (LSRT). Fredrik presented a poster from his work on exercise imagery, and Jennifer also contributed to a symposium on life skills about the role sport psychology can play in supporting homeless young people.

Successful Grant Application
Jennifer is very pleased to be awarded a grant from the ESRC IAA Secondment Fund for £17,716.  Her project “Rethinking youth homelessness: Integrating mental skills training into St Basils’ psychologically-informed environment” will involve spending time within St Basils and receiving the same training as their staff.  It will be an exciting opportunity to exchange knowledge and expertise with staff in different roles across the organisation from September 2015 to February 2016.

Imagery Workshops in 2015
The BRIO research group will be hosting another imagery workshop on June 17, 2015 at the University of Birmingham. Also, as part of a pre-FEPSAC congress workshop on July 14th 2015, Dr Jennifer Cumming and Fredrik Weibull are putting on a session on how to deliver Layered Stimulus Response Training (LSRT) which is a method used to improve imagery ability. Click here for more information about both events.

A Royal Visit to St Basils
Jennifer, along with Sam Cooley and Mark Holland, were thrilled to meet HRH Duke of Cambridge when he visited St Basils on the 12th December 2014. Jennifer was interviewed for ITV News Central about how the use of sports psychology is being used to help residents rebuild their lives.

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