“I Spy with My Little Eye!”: Breadth of Attention, Inattentional Blindness, and Tactical Decision Making in Team Sports

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Daniel Memmert University of Heidelberg

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Philip Furley University of Heidelberg

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Failures of awareness are common when attention is otherwise engaged. Such failures are prevalent in attention-demanding team sports, but surprisingly no studies have explored the inattentional blindness paradigm in complex sport game-related situations. The purpose of this paper is to explore the link between breadth of attention, inattentional blindness, and tactical decision-making in team ball sports. A series of studies revealed that inattentional blindness exists in the area of team ball sports (Experiment 1). More tactical instructions can lead to a narrower breadth of attention, which increases inattentional blindness, whereas fewer tactical instructions widen the breadth of attention in the area of team ball sports (Experiment 2). Further meaningful exogenous stimuli reduce inattentional blindness (Experiment 3). The results of all experiments are discussed in connection with consciousness and attention theories as well as creativity and training in team sports.

Memmert and Furley are with the Institute of Sport and Sports Science, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.

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