Attending to the execution of a complex sensorimotor skill: expertise differences, choking, and slumps

J Exp Psychol Appl. 2004 Mar;10(1):42-54. doi: 10.1037/1076-898X.10.1.42.


A simulated baseball batting task was used to compare the relative effects of attending to extraneous information (tone frequency) and attending to skill execution (direction of bat movement) on performance and swing kinematics and to evaluate how these effects differ as a function of expertise. The extraneous dual task degraded batting performance in novices but had no significant effect on experts. The skill-focused dual task increased batting errors and movement variability for experts but had no significant effect on novices. For expert batters, accuracy in the skill-focused dual task was inversely related to the current level of performance. Expert batters were significantly more accurate in the skill-focused dual task when placed under pressure. These findings indicate that the attentional focus varies substantially across and within performers with different levels of expertise.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arousal*
  • Attention*
  • Baseball / psychology*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Feedback
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Kinesthesis
  • Male
  • Motor Skills*
  • Orientation
  • Practice, Psychological*
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • User-Computer Interface