EXERSCI 711 : Exercise and Performance Psychology


2022 Semester One (1223) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Examines the basis of exercise motivation and to examine how psychological states can influence movement control and performance in work, sports, and daily life. The course covers theoretical foundations and involves active discussion of recent empirical studies.

Course Overview

This course is designed for postgraduate students who are interested in exercise motivation, behaviour change, and the effect of psychological factors on human motor control and performance.

Regular exercise positively influences mental health and well-being. However, adverse psychophysiological states triggered by high-pressure performance situations (e.g., in work, sports or rehabilitation), can negatively influence exercise behaviour, impair the deliberate control of action, and reduce performance. In EXERSCI 711, you will learn to understand these processes and – based on critical evaluation of the literature – consider evidence-based interventions that help people optimize their exercise behaviour and improve performance as they strive for productivity (work), personal bests (sport), or to regain fitness and daily life functionality (rehabilitation).

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Master of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Examine and explain positive effects of exercise on mental health and well-being (Capability 1)
  2. Apply key principles of exercise motivation and behaviour change in designing evidence-based exercise interventions (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  3. Examine and explain how high-pressure performance situations in work, sport, and rehabilitation may bring about psychophysiological states (e.g., stress, fatigue) that negatively impact on exercise behaviour, visuo-motor control and performance (Capability 1)
  4. Apply knowledge about the working and effectiveness of psychological skills (e.g., arousal regulation, attention control, goal-setting, imagery, thought control) to design evidence-based psychological skills training programs (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  5. Synthesize and evaluate scientific evidence for the advancement and promotion of evidence-based practice in exercise and performance psychology (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Presentation and participation 20% Individual Coursework
Module Tests 50% Individual Test
Commentary Article 30% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5
Presentation and participation
Module Tests
Commentary Article


Exercise Sciences has a dedicated Tuākana space at the City Campus 301-183 [1]. Exercise Sciences Tuākana space consists of several personal computers, a collection of prescribed textbooks of Exercise Sciences courses, personal study and relaxing areas with access to shared kitchen facilities. Tuākana students [2] enrolled in any Exercise Sciences course are most welcome to make use of these facilities, not only to support their learning but also to build whanaungatanga. Feel free to contact Waruna, the Exercise Sciences Tuākana coordinator, on waruna.w@auckland.ac.nz for any questions.

[1] https://maps.auckland.ac.nz/wayfinding?type=poi&selectedLocation=1000021002
[2] https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/on-campus/student-support/personal-support/academic-learning-support/tuakana.html

Key Topics

The course is divided in four modules, including:
  1. Psychology of physical activity
  2. Behaviour change and intervention design
  3. Psychological factors in motor performance
  4. Psychological skills for performance enhancement. 

Special Requirements

All assessments need to be completed in order to pass the course.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard [15] point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect [36] hours of course seminars, [36] hours of reading and thinking about the content and [78] hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including course seminars. Lecture content (as presented during course seminars) will be available as recording and/or downloadable presentation. Other components of the course seminars (e.g., class discussion) will not be available as recordings. The course will not include live online events. Attendance on campus is not required for the tests. Course seminars are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable (one 3-hour seminar per week).

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Required literature:
A reading list with selected journal articles will be placed in Canvas

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html.


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 11/11/2021 12:21 p.m.