An action-incongruent secondary task modulates prediction accuracy in experienced performers: evidence for motor simulation
- 341 Downloads
We provide behavioral evidence that the human motor system is involved in the perceptual decision processes of skilled performers, directly linking prediction accuracy to the (in)ability of the motor system to activate in a response-specific way. Experienced and non-experienced dart players were asked to predict, from temporally occluded video sequences, the landing position of a dart thrown previously by themselves (self) or another (other). This prediction task was performed while additionally performing (a) an action-incongruent secondary motor task (right arm force production), (b) a congruent secondary motor task (mimicking) or (c) an attention-matched task (tone-monitoring). Non-experienced dart players were not affected by any of the secondary task manipulations, relative to control conditions, yet prediction accuracy decreased for the experienced players when additionally performing the force-production, motor task. This interference effect was present for ‘self’ as well as ‘other’ decisions, reducing the accuracy of experienced participants to a novice level. The mimicking (congruent) secondary task condition did not interfere with (or facilitate) prediction accuracy for either group. We conclude that visual–motor experience moderates the process of decision making, such that a seemingly visual–cognitive prediction task relies on activation of the motor system for experienced performers. This fits with a motor simulation account of action prediction in sports and other tasks, and alerts to the specificity of these simulative processes.
KeywordsPrediction Accuracy Secondary Task Motor Experience Motor Simulation Motor Interference
This research was supported by funds awarded to the corresponding authors (Hodges) from an NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) Discovery grant and from a New Investigator salary award from CIHR (the Canadian Institute for Health Research).
- Abernethy, B., Farrow, D., Gorman, A. D., & Mann, D. (2012). Anticipatory behaviour and expert performance. In N. J. Hodges & A. M. Williams (Eds.), Skill acquisition in sport: Research, theory and practice (pp. 288–305). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Jackson, R. C., Abernethy, B., & Wernhart, S. (2009). Sensitivity to fine-grained and coarse visual information: the effect of blurring on anticipation skill. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 40, 461–475.Google Scholar
- Prinz, W., & Hommel, B. (2002). Common mechanisms in perception and action: Attention and performance XIX. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Shepard, R. N., & Cooper, L. A. (1982). Mental images and their transformations. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Springer, A., Parkinson, J., & Prinz, W. (2013b). Action simulation: time course and representational mechanisms. Frontiers in Cognition, 4, 1–20.Google Scholar
- Starkes, J. L. (1987). Skill in field hockey: the nature of the cognitive advantage. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 2, 146–160.Google Scholar
- Williams, A. M., & Davids, K. (1995). Declarative knowledge in sport: a by-product of experience or a characteristic of expertise? Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 17, 259–275.Google Scholar
- Williams, A. M., & Davids, K. (1998). Perceptual expertise in sport: Research, theory and practice. In H. Steinberg, I. Cockerill, & A. Dewey (Eds.), What sport psychologists do (pp. 48–57). Leicester: British Psychological Society.Google Scholar
- Williams, A. M., & Ward, P. (2003). Developing perceptual expertise in sport. In J. L. Starkes & K. A. Ericsson (Eds.), Expert performance in sports: Advances in research on sport expertise (pp. 220–249). Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics.Google Scholar
- Williams, A. M., & Ward, P. (2007). Perceptual-cognitive expertise in sport: Exploring new horizons. In G. Tenenabum & R. Eklund (Eds.), Handbook of sport psychology (3rd ed., pp. 203–223). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar