Attention and Concentration
Terms in this set (39)
Concentration of mental activity on internal or external events
Ability to exert mental effort and focus on what is important
Describe the 4 dimensions of attention
Ability to sustain attention throughout the match
Define selective perception
Perceptual ability to zoom in on task relevant information while ignoring distractions
Define mental time sharing (divided attention)
Performance of 2 or more concurrent actions simultaneously
Describe the 3 principles of effective concentration
- Athletes make a deliberate decision to concentrate
- Athletes minds are focused when there is no difference between what they are thinking and what they are doing
- Athletes lose their concentration when they focus on factors outside of their control
Describe the 2 dimensions of attentional focus and provide explanations of the 4 attentional styles that result
Width and direction
- Width refers to whether we have broad (lots of things to focus on) or narrow (only a couple of things to focus on) and direction refers to whether our focus is internal or external
What are the 2 important things an athlete should recognise with respect to attentional focus?
- Athletes need a target to focus on
- Focus on actions under your control
Why is it important to understand critical moments within a sport situation?
Need to know what is relevant and what is not in your particular sport so that you can set up ways to try and avoid that distraction from happening
Describe the internal and external factors that can disrupt concentration and attention in sport situations
External: Coach, fans booing, unfamiliar conditions, movement in periphery, noise/camera, intimidation, unsportsmanlike behaviour
Internal: Fatigue, focusing on the wrong thing at the wrong time, reaction to umpire, over-analysing, anxiety, low motivation, past events, future events (focusing on what would happen if I missed this goal etc.)
Describe the cognitive psychology view of how selective attention works
Our mind is a limited capacity information-processing system so we only have a certain capacity for information before overloading our brains therefore we must have some mechanism that helps us to select appropriate information and stops us selecting the irrelevant information
What is the filter system? Explain whether or not it provides a good explanation for selective attention
The filter system is that we have lots of different stimuli that we could choose to process but our attention only lets in so much information into the bottleneck and therefore we only process that information - in regard to the cocktail party phenomenon it doesn't provide a good explanation for selective attention because other information can still get through your filter
Describe the spotlight metaphor and how it explains selective attention
Mental beam illuminating a particular part of the visual field (internal or external), can be redirected voluntarily - suggests that we still have specific thing we are focusing most of our attention on (where the beam of light is the strongest) but we are still focusing on other things around us (where the light is not as bright) as these are still important but not as important as where the light is the brightest
What are the key attributes an athlete needs, to have good selective attention?
- Recognise what information is important
- Be able to switch between different attentional foci
- Remain focused, stay in the here and now
What is divided attention?
Performance of two or more concurrent actions simultaneously
In what types of sporting situations or activities is divided attention most important?
In team sports (e.g. netball, rugby, basketball etc.) where we need to focus on lots of things such as where our opponents are, who were going to pass too, performing the skill etc.
Describe the capacity theory of attention and how it explains divided attention
Suggests that we have a pool of attentional resources that we can allocate to multiple things but our capacity is limited so we can only focus our attention to a set amount of things therefore we need to divide our attention appropriately so we do not exceed our capacity
What 'skill' does the athlete need for divided attention?
Being able to multi-task without overloading our attentional resources
Define paralysis by analysis
When we try to control every aspect in an attempt to ensure success (shift to internal focus of attention rather than external)
Describe Parker's (1981) dual-task experiment and its conclusions regarding attentional capacity
Got novice and elite netballers to perform 2 tasks at once
- Primary task: Passing and catching
- Secondary task: Detecting flashing lights in periphery
Found that there was no difference between novice and elite for primary tasks and that not much attention was needed
Found that novices made more errors on the secondary task which tells us they focus their attention more on passing and catching whereas elite are able to perform passing and catching automatically resulting in more attentional resources left for the secondary task
Concluded that experts have 'spare' attentional resources
Describe the distinction between controlled and automatic processing
- Controlled (working memory) - requires a lot of attention, limited capacity
- Automatic (outside of awareness) - do not require attention, unlimited capacity
What effect does practice have on controlled/automatic processing of skills?
It decreases our cognitive resources
-->Task demands decrease
--> Processing efficiency increases
So the more we practice our skills the more automatic they become therefore taking up less attentional resoruces leaving us with spare to devote to other tasks
What does Hardy state are the problems with automaticy?
Small attentional demands
- Task irrelevant information
- Devote attention to the task
Paralysis by analysis
- Try to control every aspect in an attempt to ensure success - we start focusing on how to perform the skills rather than letting them happen automatically
When might skill focused attention be a good thing?
When deliberately trying to change how a skill is performed
What is in-attentional blindness and when does it occur?
Failure of awareness
Occurs when the task is complex and you have to devote lots of attention to it so you miss other things
How can we prevent in-attentional blindness from happening?
By training our attention to have a wide attentional focus so we can make better tactical decisions.
The more elements a player can focus on simultaneously, the greater the variety of tactical decisions available.
Important to be able to perceive unexpected stimuli
What methods would you use to train your attention to improve performance?
Have a pre-performance routine - appropriate mental state, focus on present task relevant thoughts, prevents paralysis by analysis
Plan coping strategies
Centering (decrease arousal, stops negative thoughts or irrelevant focus)
Prepare in competition and environment/simulation training - over learning of skills with some anxiety
Have strategies to refocus (change task irrelevant thoughts to task relevant thoughts)
Your eye is a muscle which can be trained
What is choking?
Acute performance decrements despite the ability and incentives for good performance
Why is choking described as an attentional-resource allocation problem?
Because it is due to a decreased process capacity of working memory and decreased efficiency of mental processing
Also due to cognitive interference (anxiety interferes with our cognitive processing)
Two things happen to the direction of attention when athletes become anxious
The direction of our attention goes from external to internal
1. We explicitly monitor how we do the task
2. Performance can be maintained but athletes do not process information efficiently
How does processing efficiency theory (PET) explain the effect of anxiety on attention and how is it linked to the catastrophe model?
Explains that cognitive anxiety can cause us to focus on the anxiety related stimuli and decrease attentional resources left to allocate to performance or cognitive anxiety can increase our motivation and effort which also takes up attentional resources --> both lead to performance being maintained up until a certain point where PA exceeds rises past the optimal point and causes a catastrophe
Describe the purpose, methodology & results of Wilson et al. (2007),
What do the results of this study help us to conclude about the effects of anxiety on DIRECTION of attention?
- Purpose: To investigate whether PET or EMH can explain performance under anxious conditions
- Methods: 24 women completed a driving video game with either no distractions, skill focus and a distraction under low anxiety conditions.
- Anxiety was greatest in high threat condition
- Drive performance was not influenced by anxiety
--> Despite increased anxiety, performance was maintained = PET
- Increased effort reported with anxiety and secondary task performance was worse
--> Increased effort went to maintaining the primary driving task at the expense of the secondary task
- Attention not focused on skill but it has been shown in other studies (so it didn't support the explicit monitoring hypothesis)
That anxiety causes our attention to move inwards
What is the forth principle of effective concentration?
Athletes should focus outward (externally) when they become anxious
Describe the two seemingly contradictory things that happen to the WIDTH of attention when athletes become anxious.
We start to focus more broadly on task-irrelevant cues, particularly anxiety so this reduces our attentional resources available to focus on task relevant information
We narrow our attention to focus on specific cues, blocking out peripheral cues and we spend more time scanning around the environment trying to pick up cues that we have missed due to narrowing our attention which leads us to miss important cues.
What did Janelle et al. (1999) conclude happens to width of attention with anxiety?
Narrowing leads to inefficient visual search patterns as we spend more time looking at irrelevant cues in periphery - distraction
What is the Quiet Eye period and why is it important to performance?
Final fixation to a target before movement occurs - important for performance because it allows for task-relevant external cues to be processes and motor plans to be selected for task success (helps to trigger the next set of executions needed to perform)
Describe the purpose, methods & results of Wood & Wilson (2012) - what can we conclude about QE training & how QE influences performance under pressure?
- Anxiety was greater in high pressure and transfer task
- QE group:
- Increasing distal aiming fixations and duration of fixation
- Increasing performance from baseline to retention/transfer
- Increasing in contingency (skill v luck) and maintained perceived control (expectation of success and ability to cope under pressure) under pressure
- Focusing on right things at right time, reduced uncertainty, optimised aiming behaviour and limited anxiety-induced disruptions to performance
- If we train quiet eye we can prevent the problems with anxiety influencing our attention and concentration in anxious conditions
What strategies can we put in place to prevent anxiety influencing attentional processes?
- Deep breathing
- 5s countdown prior to performing task
- Using a cue word to focus attention externally prior to performing the task
Practice or learn when anxious - practicing in the same state as performance activated recall of the muscular patterns required for the task
Undergo quiet eye training
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