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Thomas Hausegger, Christian Vater and Ernst-Joachim Hossner

Research on martial arts has suggested that gaze anchoring is functional for optimizing the use of peripheral visual information. The current study predicted that the height of gaze anchoring on the opponent’s body would depend on the potential attacking locations that need to be monitored. To test this prediction, the authors compared high-level athletes in kung fu (Qwan Ki Do), who attack with their arms and legs, with Tae Kwon Do fighters, who attack mostly with their legs. As predicted, the results show that Qwan Ki Do athletes anchor their gaze higher than Tae Kwon Do athletes do before and even during the first attack. In addition, gaze anchoring seems to depend on 3 factors: the particulars of the evolving situation, crucial cues, and specific visual costs (especially suppressed information pickup during saccades). These 3 factors should be considered in future studies on gaze behavior in sports to find the most functional, that is, cost-benefit-optimized, gaze pattern.

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André Klostermann, Ralf Kredel and Ernst-Joachim Hossner

The quiet-eye (QE) phenomenon has been found to predict subsequent motor performance. However, it remains unclear whether this effect also holds for considerably extended QE durations. Therefore, in 2 ball-throwing studies, QE durations of 400–3,200 ms were experimentally induced. Inferior performance was found in short QE-duration conditions; however, there was no difference between the long QE-duration conditions. Extrapolations beyond the observed QE values showed performance gains up to 2,000 ms and a shallow interval of optimality at a QE duration of about 3,000 ms. These results, together with the fact that the intended absolute QE durations were not achieved, point toward an inhibition explanation of the QE. Thus, the initial performance gain is interpreted as shielding of the movement parameterization against suboptimal alternatives, whereas the performance loss due to very long QE durations is ascribed to mutually balancing the processes of shielding and environmental monitoring.

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André Klostermann, Ralf Kredel and Ernst-Joachim Hossner

To date, despite a large body of evidence in favor of the advantage of an effect-related focus of attention compared with a movement-related focus of attention in motor control and learning, the role of vision in this context remains unclear. Therefore, in a golf-putting study, the relation between attentional focus and gaze behavior (in particular, quiet eye, or QE) was investigated. First, the advantage of an effect-related focus, as well as of a long QE duration, could be replicated. Furthermore, in the online-demanding task of golf putting, high performance was associated with later QE offsets. Most decisively, an interaction between attentional focus and gaze behavior was revealed in such a way that the efficiency of the QE selectively manifested under movement-related focus instructions. As these findings suggest neither additive effects nor a causal chain, an alternative hypothesis is introduced explaining positive QE effects by the inhibition of not-to-be parameterized movement variants.