Attention, Perception, and Action in a Simulated Decision-Making Task

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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Over the last decade, research on the visual focus of attention has become increasingly popular in psychological science. The focus of attention has been shown to be important in fast team-sport games. The authors developed a method that measures the extent of the attentional focus and perceptual capabilities during performance of a sport-specific task. The participants were required to judge different player configurations on their left and right sides with varying visual angles between the stimuli. In keeping with the notion that the focus of attention is smaller than the visual field, attentional performance was poorest at the wider viewing angles compared with perceptual performance. Moreover, the team-sport players were better able to enlarge their attentional focus and make correct decisions more frequently than individual athletes, particularly when a motor response was required. The findings provide a new perspective, dissociating the attentional and perceptual processes that affect decision making under various response modes.

Hüttermann is with the Dept. of Cognitive and Team/Racket Sport Research, Inst. of Exercise Training and Sport Informatics, German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany. Ford, Varga, and Smeeton are with Welkin Laboratories, School of Sport and Service Management, University of Brighton, Eastbourne, United Kingdom. Williams is with the Dept. of Health, Kinesiology, and Recreation, College of Health, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT.

Hüttermann (s.huettermann@dshs-koeln.de) is corresponding author.
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