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The Role of Attentional Control in Sport Performance

Brimmell, Jack (2022) The Role of Attentional Control in Sport Performance. Doctoral thesis, York St John University.

Text (Doctoral thesis)
BRIMMELL_JACK_FINAL_THESIS.pdf - Published Version
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Attentional Control Theory-Sport (ACT-S) states that performance under stress or anxiety may be underpinned by attentional processes. The attentional processes outlined in ACT-S are a group of executive functions (EFs) including inhibition, shifting, and updating. However, research grounded within ACT-S has typically assessed attention through visual gaze often captured with an eye-tracker. The key aim of the thesis was to try and better understand how EFs and visual attention (VA) interact to influence sport performance and extend ACT-S. A series of four studies, and one pilot study, were conducted in order to test the idea that EF and VA may indeed work together in successful sport performance. An initial systematic review outlined several research gaps (e.g., a lack of research examining a
holistic EF model). Specifically, the review identified that research had often failed to consider EF and VA in the same analyses and rarely considered the distinction between
effectiveness and efficiency. After pilot data showed no difference between in-person and online conditions, an online study examined the relationship between tasks of inhibition, shifting, and updating and VA tasks for the first time, and found associations through confirmatory factor analysis. To increase ecological validity, two experimental studies examined the relationship between EF, VA (obtained via eye-trackers), and objective sport
performance (i.e., soccer penalty performance). Cross-sectional results suggested the relationship between EF and soccer penalty performance was mediated by VA. Longitudinal
results were not completely in line with this finding and suggested that VA alone may be a better influence of soccer penalties over time. However, the search rate and inhibition
relationship showed promise. Overall, there appears to be a relationship between EF and VA for sport performance and the components should be considered independent contributors to
“attention” within ACT-S, though the long-term relations are not clear.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Status: Published
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV0557 Sports
School/Department: School of Education, Language and Psychology
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/8000

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