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Title: Testing attentional control theory in novel dynamic environments : the impact of anxiety on perceptual-cognitive and perceptual-motor skills
Author: Cocks, Adam James
ISNI:       0000 0004 6348 7549
Awarding Body: Brunel University London
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2016
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The current body of work aims to apply Processing Efficiency Theory (PET) and Attentional Control Theory (ACT) to novel dynamic settings by examining how anxiety influences perceptual-cognitive and perceptual-motor skills. Sporting domains and fall-risk in older adults are studied. Applying ACT to a tennis anticipation paradigm examines whether state anxiety influences processing efficiency and the use of contextual information during anticipation. Processing efficiency was reduced under anxiety, while overall response accuracy was unchanged. Furthermore, skilled performers were seemingly less able to utilise contextual information when anxious. Studies in Chapters 4 and 5 sought to test the predictions of PET and ACT compared with those of Reinvestment Theory (RT) in the field of fall-risk in older adults. In Chapter 4, trait anxiety, alongside increasing dual-task demands, produced processing and motoric inefficiencies through reduced visual planning and mean gait velocity. Furthermore, greater and more variable gait velocity reductions were found in those with higher trait anxiety. By contrast, greater reinvestment levels were associated with poorer visuospatial recall, higher stepping accuracy, plus larger and less variable gait velocity reductions. Chapter 5 further investigates the motoric inefficiencies observed in anxious older adults’ gait. The influences of trait anxiety, movement specific reinvestment, and falls efficacy on body segmental control during adaptive turning are studied. Trait anxiety and falls efficacy were mainly shown to influence differing facets of turning behaviour, though both were associated with greater coupling of body segments (en-bloc rotations), whereas, limited support was offered for RT. Overall, PET and ACT were supported when applied to these new dynamic domains. However, discrepancies are discussed due to testing theoretical hypotheses in more representative environments.
Supervisor: Romer, L. ; Williams, M. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Sport ; Anticipation ; Fall-risk ; Older adults ; Gait