The Effect of Large Visual Illusion and External Focus of Attention on Gaze Behavior and Learning of Dart Throw Skill

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Somayeh Bahrami Department of Cognitive and Behavioral Science and Technology in Sport, Faculty of Sport Sciences and Health, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

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Behrouz Abdoli Department of Cognitive and Behavioral Science and Technology in Sport, Faculty of Sport Sciences and Health, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

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Alireza Farsi Department of Cognitive and Behavioral Science and Technology in Sport, Faculty of Sport Sciences and Health, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

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Mahin Aghdaei Department of Cognitive and Behavioral Science and Technology in Sport, Faculty of Sport Sciences and Health, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

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Thomas Simpson Department of Sport and Physical Activity, Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, United Kingdom

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Research has shown that large visual illusions and an external focus of attention can improve novice’s motor learning. However, the combined effects of these approaches and the underlying mechanisms have yet to be studied. Therefore, the present study examined the effects of a large visual illusion and an external focus on the learning of a dart throwing task in novices and measured the perceptual mechanisms underpinning learning using quiet eye. Forty novice participants were randomly divided into four groups: large visual illusion, external focus of attention, combined large visual illusion and external focus of attention, and control group. The study consisted of a pretest, a practice phase, an immediate retention test, a 24-hr retention test, and a transfer test. Results revealed that all groups increased throwing accuracy and quiet eye duration from pretest to immediate retention. In the immediate retention, 24-hr retention, and transfer test, large visual illusion had greater accuracy and longer quiet eye duration than the control group. In addition, there were no significant differences between the visual illusion and external focus groups for throwing accuracy and quiet eye duration. The findings suggest that combining large visual illusion and external focus can independently improve motor learning but combining these manipulations does not have additive benefits.

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