Author(s): Abernethy B, Gill DP, Parks SL, Packer ST
Abstract Share this page
Abstract Two experiments were conducted on the nature of expert perception in the sport of squash. In the first experiment, ten expert and fifteen novice players attempted to predict the direction and force of squash strokes from either a film display (occluded at variable time periods before and after the opposing player had struck the ball) or a matched point-light display (containing only the basic kinematic features of the opponent's movement pattern). Experts out-performed the novices under both display conditions, and the same basic time windows that characterised expert and novice pick-up of information in the film task also persisted in the point-light task. This suggests that the experts' perceptual advantage is directly related to their superior pick-up of essential kinematic information. In the second experiment, the vision of six expert and six less skilled players was occluded by remotely triggered liquid-crystal spectacles at quasi-random intervals during simulated match play. Players were required to complete their current stroke even when the display was occluded and their prediction performance was assessed with respect to whether they moved to the correct half of the court to match the direction and depth of the opponent's stroke. Consistent with experiment 1, experts were found to be superior in their advance pick-up of both directional and depth information when the display was occluded during the opponent's hitting action. However, experts also remained better than chance, and clearly superior to less skilled players, in their prediction performance under conditions where occlusion occurred before any significant pre-contact preparatory movement by the opposing player was visible. This additional source of expert superiority is attributable to their superior attunement to the information contained in the situational probabilities and sequential dependences within their opponent's pattern of play.
This article was published in Perception
and referenced in Journal of Computer Science & Systems Biology