In recent years, several publications examined the underlying mechanisms that might have an impact on decision-making processes under time pressure. This study investigated how individual differences in attentional capability relate to decision making in complex dynamic offside events. A total of 24 professional football assistant referees (ARs) performed an offside decision-making task and an attention-demanding task. ARs with higher attentional capability along the horizontal meridian of their attentional focus made fewer mistakes when judging offside situations in football than ARs with lower capability. This implies that being able to rely on high-attentional capabilities in situations requiring conscious perception of multiple processes is likely to be beneficial for the ultimate decision-making performance.
Stefanie Hüttermann, Werner F. Helsen, Koen Put and Daniel Memmert
Stefanie Hüttermann, Paul R. Ford, A. Mark Williams, Matyas Varga and Nicholas J. Smeeton
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.