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Local Navon letter processing affects skilled behavior: A golf-putting experiment

Abstract

Expert or skilled behaviors (for example, face recognition or sporting performance) are typically performed automatically and with little conscious awareness. Previous studies, in various domains of performance, have shown that activities immediately prior to a task demanding a learned skill can affect performance. In sport, describing the to-be-performed action is detrimental, whereas in face recognition, describing a face or reading local Navon letters is detrimental. Two golf-putting experiments are presented that compare the effects that these three tasks have on experienced and novice golfers. Experiment 1 found a Navon effect on golf performance for experienced players. Experiment 2 found, for experienced players only, that performance was impaired following the three tasks described above, when compared with reading or global Navon tasks. It is suggested that the three tasks affect skilled performance by provoking a shift from automatic behavior to a more analytic style. By demonstrating similarities between effects in face recognition and sporting behavior, it is hoped to better understand concepts in both fields.

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Correspondence to Michael B. Lewis.

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Lewis, M.B., Dawkins, G. Local Navon letter processing affects skilled behavior: A golf-putting experiment. Psychon Bull Rev 22, 420–428 (2015). https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-014-0702-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-014-0702-6

Keywords

  • Motor planning/programming
  • Skill learning and automaticity
  • Face recognition