Expertise differences in anticipatory judgements during a temporally and spatially occluded task

Joe Causer, Nicholas Smeeton, Mark A. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is contradictory evidence surrounding the role of critical cues in the successful anticipation of penalty kicks in soccer. In the current study, skilled and less-skilled soccer goalkeepers were required to anticipate when viewing penalty kicks that were both spatially (full body; hip region) and temporally (-160 ms, -80 ms before, foot-ball contact) occluded. The skilled group outperformed the less-skilled group in all conditions. Participants performed better in the full body condition when compared to hip region condition. Performance in the hip only condition was significantly better than chance for the skilled group across all occlusion conditions. However, the less-skilled group were no better than chance in the hip condition for the early occlusion points when predicting direction and height. Later temporal occlusion conditions were associated with increased performance both in the correct response and correct direction analyses, but not for correct height. These data suggest that postural information solely from the hip region may be used by skilled goalkeepers to make accurate predictions of penalty kick direction, however, information from other sources are needed in order to make predictions of height. Findings demonstrate how the importance of anticipation cues evolve over time, which has implications for the design of training programs to enhance perceptual-cognitive skill.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0171330
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2017

Bibliographical note

© 2017 Causer et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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