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Think, see, do: Executive function, visual attention, and soccer penalty performance

Brimmell, Jack ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7481-9711, Edwards, Elizabeth. J, Smith, Martin and Vaughan, Robert S. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1573-7000 (2021) Think, see, do: Executive function, visual attention, and soccer penalty performance. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 10 (2). pp. 290-309.

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Abstract

Executive function and visual attention have been reported as important for sport performance in high-pressure situations, yet the interaction between these factors is not fully understood despite joint theoretical links to Attentional Control Theory-Sport. Specifically, whether visual attention (i.e., quiet eye, search rate, and fixations to key locations) mediates the relationship between executive function (i.e., shifting, inhibition, and updating) and soccer penalty performance under pressure is still unknown. An experimental between-subjects design with random assignment to low- and high-pressure conditions was used. Ninety-five participants (Mage = 25.07, SDage = 7.50 years, 58 males) with a range of training and competitive soccer experience (Myears = 6.09, SDyears = 7.82), completed measures of situational stress, physical activity, athletic expertise, and tasks of executive function, before completing a soccer penalty task while visual attention was recorded via a mobile eye-tracker. Between-subjects ANCOVA showed no significant differences between the pressure conditions in visual attention or soccer penalty performance, so subsequent analyses were collapsed across all participants. Mediation revealed that the effect of inhibition on soccer penalty performance was significantly mediated by quiet eye duration, search rate, and the number of fixations toward the goal. Also, the effect of updating on soccer penalty performance was significantly mediated by quiet eye duration and location, and the number of fixations toward the goal. These results are the first to suggest that executive function (inhibition and updating) and visual attention (quiet eye duration and location, fixations toward the goal, and search rate) combine to enhance soccer penalty performance.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/spy0000265
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF180-198.7 Experimental psychology
Q Science > Q Science (General)
School/Department: School of Education, Language and Psychology
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/5139

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