Psychodiagnostics to facilitate young people’s psychomotor progress

Dr.Sc.Psych., Professor V.P. Ozerov1
Associate Professor, PhD O.Y. Tarasova1
Associate Professor, PhD P.V. Tarasov1
PhD O.I. Shefatov1
1North Caucasus Federal University, Stavropol

Keywords: psychodiagnostics, progress, young people’s psychomotor qualities, scholarly traditions.

Background. Human psychomotor qualities as a research subject are rather multidimensional with at least the following issues still underexplored: age-specific composition and structure of the psychomotor qualities, physical gifts and activity; motor activity, its content and self-control forms; psychomotor tolerance and self-control under extreme stresses and in biorhythmic peak periods; role of biological, social and educational factors in the psychomotor qualities formation process; role of diagnostics in the special psychomotor abilities formation and progress securing process with the permanent general, professional and physical education system for new generations.

Objective of the study was to analyze benefits of moden psycho-diagnostics on the psychomotor qualities formation and progress in the permanent general, professional and physical education process; and offer  to а few innovative psychological and educational ideas, methods and tools to secure and test psychomotor progress in schoolchildren, university students and athletes.

Methods and structure of the study. The psycho-diagnostics and youth excellence research school of North Caucasus Federal University have run a large-scale multiannual research project to analyze and develop the cognitive/ psychomotor/ academic/ musical/ athletic/ professional/ combat and other qualities and skills in schoolchildren, university students, cadets and postgraduates (n=6000+). Compliance of the study data with the commonly accepted validity/ dependability criteria was tested by a wide variety of experimental tools using up to 70 psycho-physiological performance rates on representative samples.

Study findings and discussion. Modern science is still in need of a commonly recognized classification of psychomotor qualities and their formation factors albeit primitive motor qualities tests were offered by F. Hamilton, R. Kettel, H. Munsterberg, Y. Krepelin and many other researchers in their studies of specific human abilities and qualities [1, 4, 11-13]. The notion of psychomotor qualities was first offered and interpreted by I.M. Sechenov, a renowned national psycho-physiologist who stated the following: ‘When a human being makes some move, it goes after a consciousness wish to take it. Neither movement makes sense unless driven by a wish or motor impulse…’ [1, 4, 6, 9].

Multiple studies of psychomotor qualities were run by T. Fleishman (1954, 1967-1972) who highlighted a few important factors based on a correlation analysis of motor patterns [1, 10, 12]. It should be noted, however, that the Fine Movement Coordination; Coordination; and Hands Agility Tests offered by T. Fleishman are still focused on rather the motor/ physical qualities than mental/ sensor/ perceptive ones i.e. are more beneficial for the educational than psychomotor progress rating purposes. It was also emphasized by T. Fleishman that his list of the psychomotor factors may not be considered final [1, 2, 4, 6, 11].

K. Paulik (1966) listed the psychomotor factors in the order of invariance as follows: coordination, aiming, tapping, dexterity of hands, dexterity of fingers, response speed, and tremor. R. Kettel (1971) gives a top priority to the hands dexterity and coordination factors. We would agree with M. Jones (1966) that the above-mentioned psychomotor factors may be viewed rather as classification of tests than motor qualities as such. To put it in other words, these factors appear to refer to specific motor actions than psychomotor qualities/ abilities (B.V. Kulagin, 1984; Y.P. Ilyin, 1976 et al.) [1, 4, 6, 11].

On the whole, our concept of psychomotor qualities gives priority to the sensor, cognitive and motor aspects, whilst the American concept emphasizes the motor-resultant aspects. We believe that a human psychomotor qualities classification system shall embrace at least the sensor, perceptive, cognitive/ intellectual, volitional and creative personality components subject to precise self-control in a movement process [1, 4, 6, 11].

The multiannual research project run by the North Caucasus Federal University research school made it possible for us to formulate a human psychomotor progress concept that offers a hierarchy of psychomotor qualities defined as components of the individual cognitive qualities [6-8, 10]. ‘Individual cognitive qualities may be interpreted as the highly valued integrated individual qualities geared to effectively reflect, realize and transform the actual external and internal reality via the sensations, perceptions, interpretations, memories, attention, thinking, imagination and verbalization – to secure a highly efficient cognitive-intellectual and cognitive-motor activity’ [21].

We furthermore believe that psychomotor qualities may be considered a core multilevel component of the individual motor abilities including the neurodynamic, sensor, motor, volitional and intellectual abilities controlled by subconscious and conscious motor activity self-control mechanisms (V.P. Ozerov, 1989, 2002); and offer the relevant notions for the psychomotor gifts, qualities, abilities, capacities, predispositions etc. [6-8].

We also define the cognitive and psychomotor qualities formation process as the active educational psychology driven movement geared to test the cognitive and psychomotor qualities to efficiently develop, in a focused manner, the general and special cognitive abilities for specific intellectual, psychomotor, professional and other activity (V.P. Ozerov, 1999) [6-8, 10].

Based on the psychomotor progress securing psychological-educational experiments, we would offer the following findings and practical recommendations:

  • The unevenly paced psychomotor qualities development process goes on an age-, gender- and sport/ motor-activity-specific basis, during the whole school period, with actively sporting children and children with psychomotor gifts being 2 and 4 years (respectively) ahead of their non-sporting peers on their progress paths.
  • The focused psychological-educational experiments showed that the special psychomotor progress facilitation exercises may secure the progress far beyond the natural progress of non-sporting and sporting children.
  • The psychomotor progress facilitation exercises were found of special benefits for the athletic techniques mastering process and, hence, for the integrated motor skills development purposes, with the highest benefits demonstrated for the complex motor actions driven by high-precision self-control abilities.
  • Psychomotor progress tests of highly-skilled decathletes found the highest individual psychomotor rates with the fine movement discriminations in the key parameters, high stress-tolerance of the key psychomotor functions and good self-control abilities under extreme competitive pressures.
  • The psychomotor qualities formation and excelling method was found more beneficial than the traditional mental/ physical conditioning practices both in the motor skills mastering and competitive progress securing domains; with more than 60% of the sporting university students and schoolchildren found to make progress in their individual best results in the track and field sports as a result of the psychomotor progress securing method (V.P. Ozerov, 2002). The psychomotor excellence method of our design was also tested beneficial by the Kishinev Sport Boarding School sample and many elite athletes. It was rated more efficient than the popular maximal intensity method for the record plateau overcoming purposes.

Conclusion. The psychomotor qualities diagnostics may be highly beneficial for selection of gifted children and the Olympic reserve training system individualization purposes. The psychomotor progress test data (psychograms) may be applied to forecast competitive progress of junior athletes and customize the individual training systems in elite sports.


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The study analyzes practical accomplishments of the Stavropol psycho-diagnostics school traditions in the young people’s psychomotor progress facilitation domain. Novelty of this research field is due to the fact that it addresses one of the fundamental issues of the modern psycho-diagnostics and applies the gifts mobilizing educational psychology tools to offer a set of express tests to rate the psychomotor/ cognitive qualities supported by a focused psychomotor/ cognitive/ athletic/ professional skills and qualities development tools. We applied a few innovative approaches in our multiannual studies to rate the psychomotor progress in schoolchildren, university students and 7-27 year-old athletes; precisely map the sensitive development periods and analyze the time delays (heterochrony) and convergence in the componential psychophysical/ athletic progress. Study reports and monographs of the research school present the psychomotor progress securing concept with the psychomotor qualities classification and progress test toolkit that may be applied to select gifted young athletes.