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Mark Wilson, Mark Chattington, Dilwyn E. Marple-Horvat, and Nick C. Smith

This study examined attentional processes underlying skilled motor performance in threatening situations. Twenty-four trained participants performed a simulated rally driving task under conditions designed either to direct the focus of attention toward the explicit monitoring of driving or a distracting secondary task. Performance (lap time) was compared with a “driving only” control condition. Each condition was completed under nonevaluative and evaluative instructional sets designed to manipulate anxiety. Mental effort was indexed by self-report and dual-task performance measures. The results showed little change in performance in the high-threat explicit monitoring task condition, compared with either the low-threat or the high-threat distraction conditions. Mental effort increased, however, in all high- as opposed to low-threat conditions. Performance effectiveness was therefore maintained under threat although this was at the expense of reduced processing efficiency. The results provide stronger support for the predictions of processing efficiency theory than self-focus theories of choking.

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Jeffery J. Summers, Winston D. Byblow, Don F. Bysouth-Young, and Andras Semjen

Seven right-handed participants performed bimanual circling movements in either a symmetrical or an asymmetrical coordination mode. Movements were paced with an auditory metronome at predetermined frequencies corresponding to transition frequency, where asymmetrical patterns became unstable, or at two-thirds transition frequency, where both symmetrical and asymmetrical patterns were stable. The pacing tones were presented in either a high (1000 Hz) or low (500 Hz) pitch, and the percentage of high-pitched tones during a 20 s trial varied between 0% and 70%. Participants were instructed to count the number of high-pitched pacing tones that occurred during a trial of bimanual circling. Overall, the symmetrical pattern was more stable than the asymmetrical pattern at both frequencies. Errors on the tone-counting task were significantly higher during asymmetrical circling than symmetrical circling but only at the transition movement frequency. The results suggest that cognitive processes play a role in maintaining coordination patterns within regions of instability.

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Luiz Fernado Biazus-Sehn, Rafael Reimann Baptista, Régis Gemerasca Mestriner, Bianca Pacheco Loss, Daniela Aldabe, and Felipe de Souza Stigger

walking and secondary tasks are complex. There are a series of differences in experimental protocols in the literature, and it is apparent that the impact of dual-task performance varies based on the methodology and the type of secondary task (motor or cognitive) in use ( Wollesen et al., 2019 ). In fact

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Luca Petrigna, Ambra Gentile, Diba Mani, Simona Pajaujiene, Tobia Zanotto, Ewan Thomas, Antonio Paoli, Antonio Palma, and Antonino Bianco

The dual-task (DT) concept consists of performing a primary static or dynamic task while simultaneously carrying out an additional secondary task ( Woollacott & Shumway-Cook, 2002 ). Healthy young and older adults are generally able to maintain postural control in static standing conditions while

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Patrick D. Fischer, Keith A. Hutchison, James N. Becker, and Scott M. Monfort

improving primary prevention efforts. 17 Cognition is vital to ACL injury research efforts because of the connection between attentional capacity (a key aspect of cognitive function), its limits, and the consequences of overburdening it with secondary task demands. When attention is divided, cognitive

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Bridget Rubenking and Nicky Lewis

Sports viewers use online platforms to engage with sports content and other fans, and some of this engagement occurs as a secondary task while viewing sporting events in real time. Multitasking while viewing can both help and hinder enjoyment, depending on the context and time devoted to secondary tasks. A field experiment (N = 215) explored how socializing with others (physically and virtually) and how time spent with social, event-related, and non-event-related secondary activities were related to enjoyment of a university football game and fan identification. Results demonstrate that both posting to Facebook and viewing in more social settings are related to greater enjoyment. However, more time spent on social media and looking up non-event-related content were negatively related to enjoyment and fan identification. This suggests that a short window of time spent on secondary tasks while viewing a sports event may be the sweet spot for maximizing enjoyment.

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Matthieu M. de Wit, Rich S.W. Masters, and John van der Kamp

Based upon evidence that vision for action has quicker access to visual information than vision for perception, we hypothesized that the two systems may have differentiated visual thresholds. There is also evidence that, unlike vision for perception, vision for action is insensitive to cognitive dual-task interference. Using visual masking, we determined the visual thresholds of 15 participants in a perception task, an action task and an action plus concurrent cognitive secondary task. There was no difference in threshold between the perception task and the action task, but the action plus concurrent secondary task was accompanied by a greater visual threshold than both the perception task and the action task alone, indicating dual-task interference. The action task was thus most likely informed by vision for perception. The implications of these results are reviewed in the context of recent discussions of the two visual systems model.

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Rob Gray

Although it is commonly believed that focusing too much attention on the injured body area impairs recovery in sports, this has not been directly assessed. The present study investigated attentional focus following sports injury. Experienced baseball position players recovering from knee surgery (Expt 1) and baseball pitchers recovering from elbow surgery (Expt 2) performed simulated batting and pitching respectively. They also performed three different secondary tasks: leg angle judgments, arm angle judgments, and judgments about the ball leaving their bat/hand. Injured athletes were compared with expert and novice control groups. Performance on the secondary tasks indicated that the injured batters had an internal focus of attention localized on the area of the injury resulting in significantly poorer batting performance as compared with the expert controls. Injured pitchers had a diffuse, internal attentional focus similar to that of novices resulting in poorer pitching performance as compared with the expert controls.

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Stephan Dutke, Thomas Jaitner, Timo Berse, and Jonathan Barenberg

Research on effects of acute physical exercise on performance in a concurrent cognitive task has generated equivocal evidence. Processing efficiency theory predicts that concurrent physical exercise can increase resource requirements for sustaining cognitive performance even when the level of performance is unaffected. This hypothesis was tested in a dual-task experiment. Sixty young adults worked on a primary auditory attention task and a secondary interval production task while cycling on a bicycle ergometer. Physical load (cycling) and cognitive load of the primary task were manipulated. Neither physical nor cognitive load affected primary task performance, but both factors interacted on secondary task performance. Sustaining primary task performance under increased physical and/or cognitive load increased resource consumption as indicated by decreased secondary task performance. Results demonstrated that physical exercise effects on cognition might be underestimated when only single task performance is the focus.

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Mark L. Latash, John P. Scholz, and Gregor Schöner

Driven by recent empirical studies, we offer a new understanding of the degrees of freedom problem, and propose a refined concept of synergy as a neural organization that ensures a one-to-many mapping of variables providing for both stability of important performance variables and flexibility of motor patterns to deal with possible perturbations and/or secondary tasks. Empirical evidence is reviewed, including a discussion of the operationalization of stability/flexibility through the method of the uncontrolled manifold. We show how this concept establishes links between the various accounts for how movement is organized in redundant effector systems.