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Title: The effects of attentional load and anxiety on aiming task performance in sport
Author: Watts, M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7964 3059
Awarding Body: Liverpool John Moores University
Current Institution: Liverpool John Moores University
Date of Award: 2019
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The mechanisms underpinning perceptual-cognitive skills during performance in aiming tasks were examined in the current thesis. Firstly, due to a lack of research within the area, Chapter two investigated expertise differences and the effect of task complexity on visual search behaviours, movement kinematics during golf short game shots. Near experts were found to exhibit a significantly longer total quiet eye duration (QED) than the expert group during the putting task; a difference underpinned by having a QE-pre duration of more than double that of the experts. Task complexity had no significant effect on total QED but during a perceived harder task, QE-pre was again shown to be a distinguishing factor. Using the results of Chapter 2, Chapter 3 aimed to investigate the effects of increased attentional workload on the perceptual-cognitive skills and performance of expert and novice basketballers. Specifically, the aim of the chapter was to investigate whether increased attentional load through the use of a dual-task paradigm, exhibited the same negative effects as an increase in anxiety. QED was found to be lower during high attention conditions than low attention conditions, suggesting that processing efficiency was effected by the increased cognitive stress. Therefore, using the results of the two previous chapters, Chapter 4 aimed to investigate whether QE training under high attentional load could protect individuals somewhat from the negative effects of increased anxiety when performing under pressure in competition. It was found that both QE training groups increased their QED from pre-test to retention, however during a high attention post-test, only the QE high attention trained group maintained their QED's when compared to QE low attention and technical trained groups. The findings have major implications for both theory and practice, whilst extending the research in the area of perceptual-cognitive skills.
Supervisor: Causer, J. ; Hayes, S. ; Bennett, S. ; Jackson, R. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: RC1200 Sports Medicine