The present study examined the effectiveness of a priming paradigm in alleviating skill failure under stress. The priming intervention took the form of a scrambled sentence task. Experiment 1: Thirty-four skilled field-hockey players performed a dribbling task in low- and high-pressure situations under single task, skill-focused, and priming conditions. Results revealed a significant increase in performance time from low to high pressure. In addition, performance in the priming condition was significantly better than in the control and skill-focused conditions. Experiment 2: Thirty skilled field-hockey players completed the same dribbling task as in Experiment 1; however, in addition to the control and skill-focused conditions, participants were allocated to either a positive, neutral, or negative priming condition. Results revealed significant improvements in performance time from the skill focus to the control to the priming condition for the positive and neutral groups. For the negative group, times were significantly slower in the priming condition. Results are discussed in terms of utilizing priming in a sporting context.
Kelly J. Ashford and Robin C. Jackson
Laurence S. Warren-West and Robin C. Jackson
An extended time window was used to examine susceptibility to, and detection of, deception in rugby union. High- and low-skilled rugby players judged the final running direction of an opponent “cutting” left or right, with or without a deceptive sidestep. Each trial was occluded at one of eight time points relative to the footfall after the initial (genuine or fake) reorientation. Based on response accuracy, the results were separated into deception susceptibility and deception detection windows. Signal-detection analysis was used to calculate the discriminability of genuine and deceptive actions (d') and the response bias (c). High-skilled players were less susceptible to deception and better able to detect when they had been deceived, accompanied by a reduced bias toward perceiving all actions as genuine. By establishing the time window in which players become deceived, it will now be possible to identify the kinematic sources that drive deception.
Damian Farrow, Bruce Abernethy, and Robin C. Jackson
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.
Danielle Adams, Kelly J. Ashford, and Robin C. Jackson
The effect of priming on the speed and accuracy of skilled performance and on a probe-reaction time task designed to measure residual attentional capacity, was assessed. Twenty-four skilled soccer players completed a dribbling task under three prime conditions (fluency, skill-focus, and neutral) and a control condition. Results revealed changes in trial completion time and secondary task performance in line with successfully priming autonomous and skill-focused attention. Retention test data for task completion time and probe-reaction time indicated a linear decrease in the priming effect such that the effect was nonsignificant after 30 min. Results provide further support for the efficacy of priming and provide the first evidence of concurrent changes in attentional demands, consistent with promoting or disrupting automatic skill execution.
Robin C. Jackson, Kelly J. Ashford, and Glen Norsworthy
Attentional processes governing skilled motor behavior were examined in two studies. In Experiment 1, field hockey players performed a dribbling task under single-task, dual-task, and skill-focused conditions under both low and high pressure situations. In Experiment 2, skilled soccer players performed a dribbling task under single-task, skill-focused, and process-goal conditions, again under low and high pressure situations. Results replicated recent findings regarding the detrimental effect of skill-focused attention and the facilitative effect of dual-task conditions on skilled performance. In addition, focusing on movement related process goals was found to adversely affect performance. Support for the predictive validity of the Reinvestment Scale was also found, with high reinvesters displaying greater susceptibility to skill failure under pressure. Results were consistent with explicit monitoring theories of choking and are further discussed in light of the conceptual distinction between explicit monitoring and reinvestment of conscious control.
Daniel T. Bishop, Michael J. Wright, Robin C. Jackson, and Bruce Abernethy
The aim of this study was to examine the neural bases for perceptual-cognitive superiority in a soccer anticipation task using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Thirty-nine participants lay in an MRI scanner while performing a video-based task in which they predicted an oncoming opponent’s movements. Video clips were occluded at four time points, and participants were grouped according to in-task performance. Early occlusion reduced prediction accuracy significantly for all participants, as did the opponent’s execution of a deceptive maneuver; however, high-skill participants were significantly more accurate than their low-skill counterparts under deceptive conditions. This perceptual-cognitive superiority was associated with greater activation of cortical and subcortical structures involved in executive function and oculomotor control. The contributions of the present findings to an existing neural model of anticipation in sport are highlighted.
Anna M. Martin, Donghyun Ryu, Robin C. Jackson, and David L. Mann
Para sport classification aims to minimize the impact of impairments on the outcome of competition. The International Paralympic Committee requires classification systems to be evidence based and sport specific, yet the sport of goalball uses a structure that is not supported by evidence demonstrating its legitimacy for competition. This study aimed to establish expert opinions on how a sport-specific system of classification should be structured in the sport of goalball. Using a three-round Delphi survey, 30 international experts expressed their views across topics linked to goalball classification. Participants were divided as to whether the current system fulfills the aim to minimize the impact of impairment on competition. Most felt that less impairment should be required to compete but that the one-class structure should remain. Experts identified measures of visual function that should be considered and 15 core components of individual goalball performance. Findings constitute a crucial first step toward evidence-based classification in goalball.