Towards the cost-benefit function of peripheral vision in sports

Vater, Christian; Kredel, Ralf; Hossner, Ernst-Joachim (13 September 2017). Towards the cost-benefit function of peripheral vision in sports. In: Schwirtz, Ansgar; Mess, Filip; Demetriou, Yolanda; Senner, Veit (eds.) Innovation & Technologie im Sport. 23. Sportwissenschaftlicher Hochschultag der Deutschen Vereinigung für Sportwissenschaft. Schriften der Deutschen Vereinigung für Sportwissenschaft: Vol. 265. Hamburg: Czwalina

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Peripheral vision seems especially valuable in dual-task situations that require the pro-cessing of motion-related information, such as sports tasks of monitoring players and ini-tiating a motor response (Williams, Janelle, & Davids, 2004). With a multiple-object track-ing/change-detection dual-task that mimics exactly these demands in a lab setting, we could show that peripheral vision is used for object monitoring and change detection, with particular sensitivity to motion changes in the latter (Vater, Kredel & Hossner, 2016, 2017). In the present follow-up study, we determine how high vs. low visual and attentional de-mands affect performance and gaze behaviour in these dual-task situations.
Fourteen participants were tested in a MOT task that required the monitoring of 4 targets among 10 moving squares for 6 s. As a secondary task, a button had to be pressed if a target stopped moving. Gaze was measured with a mobile eye-tracker (EyeSeeCam, 220 Hz), integrated in a motion-capture system (Optitrack, 200 Hz). In a 2 x 2 experimental de-sign, visual demands (temporary crowding of three “group targets” by three distractors) and attentional demands (collisions between the “group targets” and the frame) were ma-nipulated. Gaze-anchoring distance to the group targets, the percentage of trials with sac-cades to the group targets, as well as tracking and detection accuracy were calculated.
As expected, in the crowd compared to the no-crowd condition, tracking performance was lower, F(1,13) = 103.80, p < .01, ηp2 = .89, and gaze was anchored closer to the group tar-gets, F(1,13) = 13.78, p < .01, ηp2 = .52, highlighting configuration-dependent eccentricity costs. In the collision conditions, a main effect for collision, F(1,13) = 239.94, p < .01, ηp2 = .95, presented the largest ANOVA effect size, indicating that more saccades are initiated before than after the collision. A comparison of change detection rates with and without anticipatory saccades showed that detection accuracy is reduced if the saccades occur during the period of the target change, F(1,13) = 5.81, p = .03, ηp2 = .31. This finding em-phasizes that saccade costs must be considered in the optimisation of gaze behaviour.
For sports, our findings suggest that – rather than fixating sequentially on relevant cues – athletes should anchor their gaze between objects in a cost-optimised manner and espe-cially, refrain from saccades if a crucial event is anticipated in the following moments. We are currently testing this conceptualized cost-dependent optimisation of gaze behaviour in sport-specific dual-task situations (e.g., with action responses in martial arts, basketball and soccer).

Vater, C., Kredel, R., & Hossner, E.-J. (2016). Detecting single-target changes in multiple object tracking: The case of peripheral vision. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 78, 1004–1019.
Vater, C., Kredel, R., & Hossner, E.-J. (2017). Detecting target changes in multiple object tracking with pe-ripheral vision: More pronounced eccentricity effects for changes in form than in motion. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 43, 903–913.
Williams, A. M., Janelle, C. M., & Davids, K. (2004). Constraints on the search for visual information in sport. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 2, 301–318.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Abstract)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW)
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW) > Movement and Exercise Science

UniBE Contributor:

Vater, Christian; Kredel, Ralf and Hossner, Ernst-Joachim


700 Arts > 790 Sports, games & entertainment




Schriften der Deutschen Vereinigung für Sportwissenschaft






Christian Vater

Date Deposited:

26 Sep 2017 10:42

Last Modified:

18 Oct 2017 13:54

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