Attention, perception, and action in a simulated decision-making task

Nicholas Smeeton, Paul R. Ford, Matyas Varga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over the last decade, research on the visual focus of attention has become increasingly popular in psychological science. The focus of attention has been shown to be important in fast team sport games. We developed a method that measures the extent of the attentional focus and perceptual capabilities while performing a sport-specific task. Participants were required to judge different player configurations on their left and right side with varying visual angles between the stimuli. In keeping with the notion that the focus of attention is smaller than the visual field, attentional performance was poorest at wider viewing angles compared to perceptual performance. Moreover, team sport players were better able to enlarge the attentional focus and make correct decisions more frequently than individual athletes, particularly when a motor response was required. The findings provide a new perspective dissociating attentional and perceptual processes that affect decision making under various response modes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

As accepted for publication.


  • focus of attention
  • visual streams
  • working memory


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