Probing Expert Anticipation with the Temporal Occlusion Paradigm: Experimental Investigations of Some Methodological Issues

in Motor Control

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Damian Farrow
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Bruce Abernethy
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Robin C. Jackson
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Two experiments were conducted to examine whether the conclusions drawn regarding the timing of anticipatory information pick-up from temporal occlusion studies are influenced by whether (a) the viewing period is of variable or fixed duration and (b) the task is a laboratory-based one with simple responses or a natural one requiring a coupled, interceptive movement response. Skilled and novice tennis players either made pencil-and-paper predictions of service direction (Experiment 1) or attempted to hit return strokes (Experiment 2) to tennis serves while their vision was temporally occluded in either a traditional progressive mode (where more information was revealed in each subsequent occlusion condition) or a moving window mode (where the visual display was only available for a fixed duration with this window shifted to different phases of the service action). Conclusions regarding the timing of information pick-up were generally consistent across display mode and across task setting lending support to the veracity and generalisability of findings regarding perceptual expertise in existing laboratory-based progressive temporal occlusion studies.

Farrow is with Athlete and Coach Services, Australian Institute of Sport, Belconnen, ACT, 2616 Australia. Abernethy and Jackson are with the Institute of Human Performance, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong; Abernethy is also with the School of Human Movement Studies, The University of Queensland, Brisbane QLD 4072, Australia.

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