Enhanced expectancies are an important component of OPTIMAL theory and are thought to contribute to motor performance and learning. There is limited information, however, on the generalizability of OPTIMAL theory to highly skilled individuals. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of visual illusions, specifically an Ebbinghaus illusion, on the performance and learning of an aiming task using highly skilled 10-m rifle and pistol shooters. Two groups of shooters with international experience were recruited and practiced with perceived larger and smaller targets. Our results indicated that participants who perceived the target larger reported higher self-efficacy immediately after practice. In addition, these participants had higher shooting performance during practice. Our retention test (24 hours later), however, did not produce differences in self-efficacy or shooting performance. Our data suggests that visual illusions are beneficial for motor performance in highly skilled shooters, but may not affect learning in those who are in the latter stages of learning. Further studies should continue examining the role of visual illusions for enhancing expectancies in highly skilled and experienced performers.
Moslem Bahmani, Jed A. Diekfuss, Robabeh Rostami, Nasim Ataee and Farhad Ghadiri
Faezeh Mohammadi Sanjani, Abbas Bahram, Moslem Bahmani, Mina Arvin and John van der Kamp
It has been shown that texting degrades driving performance, but the extent to which this is mediated by the driver’s age and postural stability has not been addressed. Hence, the present study examined the effects of texting, sitting surface stability, and balance training in young and older adults’ driving performance. Fifteen young (mean age = 24.3 years) and 13 older (mean age = 62.8 years) participants were tested in a driving simulator with and without texting on a smartphone and while sitting on a stable or unstable surface (i.e., a plastic wobble board), before and after a 30-min sitting balance training. Analyses of variance showed that texting deteriorated driving performance but irrespective of sitting surface stability. Balance training decreased the negative effects of texting on driving, especially in older adults. Perceived workload increased when drivers were texting, and balance training reduced perceived workload. Perceived workload was higher while sitting on the unstable surface, but less so after balance training. Path analyses showed that the effects on driving performance and perceived workload were (indirectly) associated with changes in postural stability (i.e., postural sway). The study confirms that texting threatens safe driving performance by challenging postural stability, especially in older adults. The study also suggests that it is important to further investigate the role balance training can play in reducing these negative effects of texting.