The relationship between eye fixations and concurrent verbal reports as measures of selective attention was examined in two different performance contexts. Experienced and less experienced soccer players were presented with filmed action sequences. In Experiment 1, subjects reacted to 11-versus-11 soccer simulations; in Experiment 2, 3-versus-3 situations were presented. Each study involved two experimental conditions: (1) visual fixations were recorded using an eye-movement system and (2) subjects continuously verbalized the location of their visual attention. In 11-versus-11 situations, there were no differences in performance across the two conditions, indicating that verbalization had no effect on performance. Also, there were no differences between the two methods in identifying important information sources. In 3-versus-3 situations, concurrent verbalization resulted in reactivity. Moreover, there were differences between the two methods in identifying important display areas. Findings showed that the relationship between visual fixation and selective attention is dependent on the nature of the stimulus presented. When peripheral vision is employed to extract task-specific information, verbal reports provide a more veritable measure of selective attention; eye fixations may yield a more accurate measure when the task requires information to be extracted foveally. Findings are discussed with regard to the differences between “looking” and “seeing” as a methodological issue.
Abernethy, B. (1985). Cue usage in “open” motor skills: A review of available procedures. In D. G. Russell & B. Abernethy (Eds.),Motor memory and control: The Otago Symposium (pp. 110–122). Dundein, NZ: Human Performance Associates.
Abernethy, B. (1988). Visual search in sport and ergonomics: Its relationship to selective attention and performer expertise.Human Performance,4, 205–235.
Abernethy, B. (1990). Expertise, visual search, and information pickup in squash.Perception,19, 63–77.
Applied Science Laboratories (1992). Eye tracking systems handbook. Bedford, MA: Author.
Bainbridge, L. (1990). Verbal protocol analysis. In J. R. Wilson & E. N. Corlett (Eds.),Evaluation of human work: A practical ergonomic methodology (pp. 161–179). London: Taylor & Francis.
Berbaum, K. S., Kennedy, R. S., &Hettinger, L. J. (1991). Visual tasks in helicopter shipboard landing.Applied Ergonomics,22, 231–239.
Brinkman, J. A. (1993). Verbal protocol accuracy in fault diagnosis.Ergonomics,36, 1381–1397.
Buckolz, E., Prapavesis, H., &Fairs, J. (1988). Advance cues and their use in predicting tennis passing shots.Canadian Journal of Sport Sciences,13, 20–30.
Davids, K. (1984). The role of peripheral vision in ball games: Some theoretical and practical notions.Physical Education Review,7, 26–40.
Ericsson, K. A., &Oliver, W. L. (1989). A methodology for assessing the detailed structure of memory skills. In A. M. Colley & J. R. Beech (Eds.),Acquisition and performance of cognitive skills (pp. 193–216). New York: Wiley.
Ericsson, K. A., &Simon, H. A. (1980). Verbal reports as data.Psychological Review,87, 215–251.
Ericsson, K. A., &Simon, H. A. (1993).Protocol analysis: Verbal reports as data. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Green, A. J. (1995). Verbal protocol analysis.The Psychologist,8, 126–129.
Hella, F. (1984). Is the analysis of eye movement recording a sufficient criterion for evaluating automobile instrument panel design? In J. K. O’Regan & A. Levy-Schoen (Eds.),Eye movements: From physiology to cognition (pp. 551–561). Amsterdam: North-Holland.
Hughes, P. K., &Cole, B. L. (1986). What attracts attention when driving?Ergonomics,29, 377–391.
Jonides, J. (1981). Voluntary versus automatic control over the mind’s eye. In J. Long & A. Baddeley (Eds.),Attention and performance IX (pp. 187–203). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Jorgensen, A. H. (1990). Thinking-aloud in user interface design: A method promoting cognitive ergonomics.Ergonomics,33, 501–507.
Koubek, R. J., &Salvendy, G. (1991). Cognitive performance of super-experts on computer program modification tasks.Ergonomics,34, 1095–1112.
Kundel, H. L., Nodine, C. F., &Toto, L. (1984). Eye movements and the detection of lung tumours in chest images. In A. G. Gale & F. Johnson (Eds.),Theoretical and applied aspects of eye movement research (pp. 297–304). Amsterdam: North-Holland.
Le Plat, H., &Hoc, J. M. (1981). Subsequent verbalization in the study of cognitive processes.Ergonomics,24, 743–756.
McGeorge, P., &Burton, A. M. (1989). The effects of concurrent verbalization on performance in a dynamic systems task.British Journal of Psychology,80, 455–465.
Myers, C., &Davids, K. (1993). Tacit skill and performance at work.Applied Psychology: An International Perspective,42, 117–137.
Neumann, O., van der Heijden, A. H. C., &Allport, D. A. (1986). Visual selective attention: Introductory remarks.Psychological Research,48, 185–188.
Nisbett, R. E., &Wilson, T. D. (1977). Telling more than we can know: Verbal reports on mental processes.Psychological Review,84, 231–259.
Paillard, J. (1982). The contribution of peripheral and central vision to visually guided reaching. In D. J. Ingle, M. A. Goodale, & R. J. Mansfield (Eds.),Analysis of visual behavior (pp. 367–385). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Papin, J. M. (1984). Use of the NAC eye mark recorder to study visual strategies of military aircraft pilots. In A. G. Gale & F. Johnson (Eds.),Theoretical and applied aspects of eye movement research (pp. 367–371). Amsterdam: North-Holland.
Papin, J. M., Metges, P., &Amalberti, R. (1984). Use of NAC eye mark by radiologists. In A. G. Gale & F. Johnson (Eds.),Theoretical and applied aspects of eye movement research (pp. 323–330). Amsterdam: North-Holland.
Reed, N. E., &Johnson, P. E. (1993). Analysis of expert reasoning in hardware diagnosis.International Journal of Man-Machine Studies,38, 251–280.
Remington, R. W. (1980). Attention and saccadic eye movements.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance,6, 726–744.
Ripoll, H. (1991). The understanding-acting process in sport: The relationship between the semantic and the sensorimotor visual function.International Journal of Sport Psychology,22, 221–243.
Rockwell, T. (1972). Skills, judgement and information acquisition in driving. In T. W. Forbes (Ed.),Human factors in highway traffic safety research (pp. 133–164). New York: Wiley.
Russo, J. E., Johnson, E. J., &Stephens, D. L. (1989). The validity of verbal protocols.Memory & Cognition,17, 759–769.
Sanders, A. F., &Houtmans, M. J. M. (1985). Perceptual processing modes in the functional visual field.Acta Psychologica,58, 251–261.
Shulman, G. L., Remington, R.W., &McLean, J. P. (1979). Moving attention throughout visual space.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance,5, 522–526.
Stager, P., &Angus, R. (1978). Locating crash sites in a simulated air-to-ground visual search.Human Factors,20, 453–466.
Toms, M. (1992). Verbal protocols: How useful are they to cognitive ergonomists? In E. J. Lovesey (Ed.),Contemporary ergonomics (Proceedings of the Ergonomics Society’s 1992 Annual Conference, pp. 316–321). London: Taylor & Francis.
Treisilian, J. R. (1995). Perceptual and cognitive processes in time-tocontact estimation: Analysis of prediction-motion and relative judgment tasks.Perception & Psychophysics,57, 231–245.
Tyldesley, D. A., Bootsma, R. J., &Bomhoff, G. T. (1982). Skill level and eye movement patterns in a sport orientated reaction time task. In H. Rieder, K. Bos, H. Mechling, & K. Reischle (Eds.)Motor learning and movement behaviour: Contribution to learning in sports (pp. 290–296). Cologne: Hoffmann.
van der Heijden, A. H. C. (1986). On selection in vision.Psychological Research,48, 211–219.
Williams, A. M., &Burwitz, L. (1993). Advance cue utilization in soccer. In T. Reilly, J. Clarys, & A. Stibbe (Eds.),Science and football II (pp. 239–244). London: E. & F. N. Spon.
Williams, A. M.,Davids, K., &Burwitz, L. (1995a). Visual search strategy in 3 vs. 3 and 1 vs. 1 situations in soccer.Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology,17, S109.
Williams, A. M.,Davids, K., &Burwitz, L. (1995b). Visual search strategy and selective attention in 3 vs. 3 and 1 vs. 1 situations in soccer.Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology,17, S109.
Williams, A. M., Davids, K., Burwitz, L., &Williams, J. G. (1992). Perception and action in sport.Journal of Human Movement Studies,22, 147–205.
Williams, A. M., Davids, K., Burwitz, L., &Williams, J. G. (1993). Visual search and sports performance.Australian Journal of Science & Medicine in Sport,22, 55–65.
Williams, A. M., Davids, K., Burwitz, L., &Williams, J. G. (1994). Visual search strategies in expert and novice soccer players.Research Quarterly for Sport & Exercise Science,65, 2, 127-135.
Yarbus, A. L. (1967).Eye movements and vision. New York: Plenum.
Zegers, D. H. A. (1986, Autumn). Some experiments with the NAC V eyemark recorder during agricultural selection tasks.Agricultural Engineer, pp. 99–102.
This study was completed as part of the first author’s doctoral degree at the University of Liverpool.
About this article
Cite this article
Williams, A.M., Davids, K. Assessing cue usage in performance contexts: A comparison between eye-movement and concurrent verbal report methods. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers 29, 364–375 (1997). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03200589
- Soccer Player
- Choice Reaction Time
- Verbal Report
- Peripheral Vision
- Film Clip