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In the Zone: Spontaneity and Mental Discipline in Sport and Beyond


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Speaker(s): Michael Brearley, Professor David Papineau
Chair: Dr Simon Glendinning

Recorded on 8 November 2012 in Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building.

What is meant by ‘being in the zone’? Can philosophy or cognitive science help explain the combination of mental and physical effort required for sporting excellence? Michael Brearley will discuss technique and emotion, concentration and relaxation, self-criticism and self-confidence, and will consider whether the capacity to find an optimum balance of such qualities can be learned or fostered. David Papineau will speak about the way that high-level sport requires intentional mental control of reflex behaviour, and will reflect on what this tells us about both cognition and sport.

Michael Brearley is a psychoanalyst in London. In earlier life he taught philosophy, and was a professional cricketer captaining both England and Middlesex.

David Papineau is Professor of Philosophy at King's College London.

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