From attentional control to attentional spillover: A skill-level investigation of attention, movement, and performance outcome relations

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Two experiments examined the impact of attention on the movement and putting accuracy of novice and experienced golfers. In Experiment 1, attentional control was manipulated via two different secondary tasks: (i) an extraneous condition in which participants judged the frequency of an auditory cue presented during their stroke and, (ii) a skill-focused condition in which participants judged whether the cue occurred closer to the starting or end point of the swing segment in which it was presented. For experts, putting performance was least accurate in the skill-focused condition and when the cue was presented earlier. This decline in accuracy was associated with a significant reduction in the relationship between downswing amplitude and distance. Novices showed the opposite pattern. In Experiment 2, we manipulated attentional control indirectly by introducing the possibility that participants would stop their swing mid-stroke in response to an auditory cue, thus pushing participants to exert added control over step-by-step execution. Stop-trials were interleaved with normal putting trials in which no instructions were given. Novices were better able to stop their putting stroke and putted more accurately on non-stop trials than experts. These findings are consistent with recent models of putting control.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1473-1499
Number of pages26
JournalHuman Movement Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2012