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Thomas Romeas, Jocelyn Faubert; Assessment of sport specific and non-specific biological motion perception in soccer athletes shows a fundamental perceptual ability advantage over non-athletes for recognising body kinematics. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):504. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/15.12.504.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
With continuous exposure to situations, events or action patterns, we can achieve superior levels of performance. An effective example that highlights this expertise can be described in athletics (sports). A number of studies report perceptual-cognitive expertise in athletes. Interestingly, recent studies have shown that athletes’ domain specific expertise can transfer to everyday tasks such as processing socially realistic multitasking crowd scenes, which involve pedestrians crossing a street or processing complex and dynamic visual scenes. In this study we assessed the perceptual-cognitive expertise of athletes and non-athletes using sport specific and non-specific biological motion perception tasks. Using a virtual environment (EON IcubeTM), forty one university-level soccer players and nineteen non-athletes were asked to perceive the direction of a point-light walker and to predict the trajectory of a masked-ball during a point-light soccer kick. Angles of presentation were varied for orientation (upright, inverted) and distance (2m, 4m, 16m). Correct response (%) and reaction time (s) were measured to assess observers’ performance. The two tasks revealed distinct level of performance in both groups (p< 0.001). Response accuracy (p< 0.001) and reaction time (p=0.002 for point-light walker only) varied according to the angle of presentation (task difficulty). Varying difficulty throughout biological motion highlighted athletes’ superior ability compare to non-athletes to accurately predict the trajectory of a masked soccer ball during the point-light soccer kick task (p=0.003 accuracy; p=0.961 reaction time). As expected, athletes performed better throughout the domain-specific task (soccer) but more surprisingly, they also displayed greater performance in accuracy (p=0.002) and reaction time (p=0.057) than non-athletes throughout the more fundamental and general point-light walker direction task. Athletes seemed to demonstrate a general fundamental perceptual-cognitive expertise for biological motion perception.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015
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