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Rouwen Cañal-Bruland, Lars Balch, Loet Niesert; Visually judging the fate of ones own and others basketball shots. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):414. doi: 10.1167/14.10.414.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Skilled basketball players are more successful from the free-throw distance than would be predicted by their performances at adjacent distances. This is referred to as an especial motor skill. In this study, we examined whether especial motor skills map onto the ability to visually judge the fate of basketball free-throws more successfully than would be predicted by visual judgments at other shooting distances. In addition, we tested whether such an especial perceptual skill would exist when judging ones own shots but not those performed by others. Eight high-skilled basketball players were paired to eight equally skilled players, and asked to perform 150 set-shots from five systematically different distances (including the free-throw distance) while the partner observed the shots. At the moment of ball release, vision of both the performer and the observer were occluded using liquid-crystal occlusion goggles, and both independently judged whether the shot was successful or not. Auditory feedback was withheld. Results did not replicate the previously reported especial skill effect in motor performance. That is, players did not shoot significantly better at the free-throw distance than was predicted by the performances from adjacent distances. Yet, despite the lack of an especial motor skill, Signal Detection Theory (SDT) analyses revealed that performers demonstrated greater sensitivity when discriminating hits from misses at the foul line than was predicted by discrimination judgments at adjacent distances. In addition, performers also showed a response bias to judge more free-throws to be in than was predicted by the bias measures at other distances. Importantly, both effects were unique to the performers, and not found in the observers. Together, independent of the actual occurrence of especial motor skills in shooting performance, skilled performers indeed possess especial perceptual skills and show a response bias towards judging balls in when judging the fate of free-throws.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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