The ability to anticipate and to make decisions is crucial to skilled performance in many sports. We examined the role of and interaction between the different perceptual-cognitive skills underlying anticipation and decision making. Skilled and less skilled players interacted as defenders with life-size film sequences of 11 versus 11 soccer situations. Participants were presented with task conditions in which the ball was located in the offensive or defensive half of the pitch (far vs. near conditions). Participants’ eye movements and verbal reports of thinking were recorded across two experiments. Skilled players reported more accurate anticipation and decision making than less skilled players, with their superior performance being underpinned by differences in task-specific search behaviors and thought processes. The perceptual-cognitive skills underpinning superior anticipation and decision making were shown to differ in importance across the two task constraints. Findings have significant implications for those interested in capturing and enhancing perceptual-cognitive skill in sport and other domains.
André Roca, Paul R. Ford, Allistair P. McRobert, and A. Mark Williams
Sue L. McPherson
Research examining planning strategies used by high-strategy open-skill performers is limited. This study examined planning responses of collegiate varsity (experts, n = 6) and beginner (novices, n = 6) women tennis players between points during competition. Other articles focused on expert-novice differences in problem representations (quantitative analyses of verbal data via audiotaping) accessed during simulated situations and during actual competition (immediate recall point interviews) and performance skills during competition (via videotaping). Mann-Whitney U tests on verbal report measures indicated experts generated more total, varied, and sophisticated goal, condition, action, and do concepts than novices. Experts planned for actions based on elaborate and sophisticated action plan and current event profiles; novices rarely planned and they lacked these memory structures. Differences in internal self-talk were also noted.
Luis Calmeiro and Gershon Tenenbaum
The purpose of this study was to examine the feasibility of concurrent verbal protocols to identify and map thought processes of players during a golf-putting task. Three novice golfers and three experienced golfers performed twenty 12-foot putts while thinking aloud. Verbalizations were transcribed verbatim and coded using an inductive method. Content analysis and event-sequence analysis were performed. Mapping of thought sequences indicated that experienced players’ cognitive processes centered on gathering information and planning, while beginners focused on technical aspects. Experienced players diagnosed current performance aspects more often than beginners did and were more likely to use this information to plan the next putt. These results are consistent with experienced players’ higher domain-specific knowledge and less reliance on step-by-step monitoring of motor performance than beginners. The methods used for recording, analyzing, and interpreting on-line thoughts of performers shed light on cognitive processes, which have implications for research.
Shamsi S. Monfared, Gershon Tenenbaum, Jonathan R. Folstein, and K. Anders Ericsson
. Shooting accuracy was measured for all shots. For a random subset of trials, the marksmen estimated the location of the just-executed shot, and for a random subset of those trials, they gave retrospective verbal reports of thoughts. These measures offer three convergent sources of evidence for use of
Sue L. McPherson and Clare MacMahon
Our understanding of the role of tactical knowledge in baseball batting preparation is scarce, thereby limiting training guidelines. We examined the verbal reports of baseball players and nonplayers when told to view different edited video sequences of a half-inning of baseball competition under different task conditions: to prepare to bat (problem solve); recall as much information as possible (intentional recall); or prepare to bat, with an unexpected recall (incidental recall). Separate mixed-model ANOVAs (Expertise X Instruction conditions) on verbal report measures indicated that nonplayers used general strategies for recalling baseball events and lacked the tactical skills to use such information for their upcoming times at bat. In contrast, players used baseball-specific strategies to encode and retrieve pertinent game events from long-term memory (LTM) to develop tactics for their upcoming times at bat and to recall as much information as possible. Recommendations for training tactical skills are presented as some players exhibited defciencies in the LTM structures that mediate batting decisions.
Previous research has identified specific differences in cognition between experts and novices in problem-solving domains. To address the question of whether similar distinctions exist among springboard divers, six differences in problem representation and four differences in procedural knowledge were studied in elite and nonelite springboard divers. Subjects reported their thoughts immediately following dive performance. Verbal reports were converted into problem representations and production rules. Analysis of the representations and production rules revealed differences between elite and nonelite divers consistent with distinctions found between expert and novice problem-solvers. Elite problem representations contained more higher order concepts than nonelite representations. Moreover, the elite representations were more richly embedded, containing more concepts, features, and interrelations than the nonelite representations. Also, elite divers cited more production rules than nonelite divers. Elite production rules displayed a greater degree of sophistication in discrimination, proceduralization, composition, and strengthening.
Gershon Tenenbaum and Efrat Elran
Congruence between actual and retrospective reports for pre- and postcompetition emotional states was investigated separately and together. Fifty-two members of four university sport teams participated in one or more of three experimental conditions. The first condition consisted of actual measurement of precompetition emotional states and retrospective measurement of the same situation following a 72-hr delay. Actual and retrospective measurement of postcompetition emotional states comprised the second condition. The third condition included actual measurement of pre- and post-states and retrospective measurement of both states after a 72-hr delay. RM-MANOVA procedures revealed that athletes could report and differentiate between their pre- and postcompetition emotional experiences, and that retrospective report was not affected by the pre/post interference after a 72-hour delay. However, athletes underestimated the intensity of postcompetition unpleasant emotions. Correlations between the structured actual and retrospective measures of emotions were moderate to strong, and thus congruent. However, thoughts and feelings that were openly expressed after 72 hours were not fully congruent with thoughts and feelings reported in real time. These findings are discussed in relation to Ericsson and Simon’s (1980, 1984) conceptualization of verbal reports as data, and Ross’ (1989) implicit theory of stability and change.
Gershon Tenenbaum, Michael Lloyd, Grace Pretty, and Yuri L. Hanin
A study was carried out to examine the ability of equestrians to accurately report precompetition emotions and thoughts across varying time delays (3,7, and 14 days) after competition. Forty male and female dressage riders were randomly divided into two equal groups: participants who watched their videotaped precompetition routine before responding to the items, and participants who visualized the precompetition routine without any external aid. Each rider completed several questionnaires which measured emotions, items related to horses, and an open-ended question on thoughts and emotions at that moment. After a delay of 3,7, and 14 days, the riders were asked to respond to the same questions after imagining themselves preparing for the competition. Repeated-measures MANOVA indicate that though some decrease in emotional intensity was noted for some emotions in the retrospective report, the stability of reporting precompetition emotions was very high in all delay periods. The horse related items were reported particularly accurately. Watching the videotape did not improve the accuracy of the report. Content analysis, however, indicated that when measurement consisted of free report, many emotions and thoughts were added or omitted in the delayed modes. Ericsson and Simon’s (1980, 1984) verbal reports and protocol analysis conceptualization is used to elaborate upon these results.
Jason C. Laffer, Aaron J. Coutts, and Job Fransen
. References Afonso , J. , Garganta , J. , McRobert , A. , Williams , A.M. , & Mesquita , I. ( 2012 ). The perceptual cognitive processes underpinning skilled performance in volleyball: Evidence from eye-movements and verbal reports of thinking involving an in situ representative task . Journal of
Alexander Tibor Latinjak
-directed thinking might represent reason, although the voice of intuition might talk back. Methodological Considerations All thought-sampling procedures have limitations, as they rely on conscious awareness and memory ( Nisbett & Wilson, 1977 ). In this study, a written verbal-report protocol was chosen. Verbal