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Performance of basketball players and nonplayers was compared on a task requiring the recall of slides of basketball games after a 4-second view of each slide. All slides viewed depicted basketball games; one half of the slides contained structured game information (slide represented an offensive play in progress) and the other half of the slides showed unstructured game information (slide represented a turnover or rebound). As has been found for skilled chess, bridge, and Go players, basketball players were superior to nonplayers in recall for structured slides only. Furthermore, players were superior to nonplayers in a recognition task for both structured and unstructured slides, showing that players' superiority in the experimental tasks is a function of encoding information to a deeper level than nonplayers.
The data presented in these studies were collected as a portion of the honors projects of the second and third authors. The research was supported by an by an N.R.C. grant to the first author. The authors would like to thank G. E. MacKinnon for his comments on content and style. Reprint requests should be sent to F. Allard, Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1.