Perception & Psychophysics

, Volume 70, Issue 7, pp 1217–1234

On the dynamic information underlying visual anticipation skill


    • UMR 6233 Institut des Sciences du Mouvement “Etienne-Jules Marey,”Université de la Méditerranée, Faculté des Sciences du Sport
  • Nicholas J. Smeeton
    • Liverpool John Moores University
    • University of Brighton
  • Nicola J. Hodges
    • University of British Columbia
  • Peter J. Beek
    • Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • A. Mark Wiliams
    • Liverpool John Moores University

DOI: 10.3758/PP.70.7.1217

Cite this article as:
Huys, R., Smeeton, N.J., Hodges, N.J. et al. Perception & Psychophysics (2008) 70: 1217. doi:10.3758/PP.70.7.1217


What information underwrites visual anticipation skill in dynamic sport situations? We examined this question on the premise that the optical information used for anticipation resides in the dynamic motion structures, or modes, that are inherent in the observed kinematic patterns. In Experiment 1, we analyzed whole-body movements involved in tennis shots to different directions and distances by means of principal component analysis. The shots differed in the few modes that captured most of the variance, especially as a function of shot direction. In Experiments 2 and 3, skilled and less skilled tennis players were asked to anticipate the direction of simulated shots on the basis of kinematic patterns in which only the constituent dynamic structures were manipulated. The results indicated that players predicted shot direction by picking up the information contained in multiple lowdimensional dynamic modes, suggesting that anticipation skill in tennis entails the extraction of this dynamic information from high-dimensional displays.

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© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2008