The quiet eye and tasks demands: Do tougher shots need a quieter eye?

Walters-Symons, Rosanna; Wilson, Marc; Klostermann, André; Vine, Sam (3 July 2014). The quiet eye and tasks demands: Do tougher shots need a quieter eye? In: 19th annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science. Amsterdam. 02.-05.07.2014.

The Quiet Eye (QE; Vickers 1996) has been shown to underpin successful performance, differentiating both expertise (inter-individual) and proficiency (intra-individual), with experts and successful attempts characterised by longer QE durations. The QE is proposed to reflect the time needed to organise and fine tune the parameters of movement (e.g. force and direction). In order to examine this prediction and build upon previous research we experimentally manipulated the difficulty of a golf putting task; we hypothesised that if the QE is related to motor programming then a more difficult task should be associated with longer QE durations.

33 golfers (M age= 21.16, SD= 3.98) with an average handicap of 6.5 (SD= 6.02) performed putts in 4 conditions of increasing difficulty. We manipulated the length of the golf putt (short-4ft, long-8ft) and the contact point of the putter head (large-1.7cm, small-0.5cm,) giving increasingly difficult putting conditions of short-large [1], short-small [2], long-large [3] and long-small [4]. We measured performance (radial error from hole in cm) and QE (in ms) for 10 putts in each condition.

A repeated measures ANOVA was performed on the performance and QE data. The performance data suggest that we were successful in increasing the difficulty of the task (F (3,93) = 26.46. p = .000), with the best performance in condition [1] (8.57cm), followed by [2] (9.10cm) followed by [3] (16.11cm) and finally the worst performance was in condition [4] (23.40cm). The QE data suggest that, in keeping with our hypothesis, the QE was lengthened as task difficulty increased (F (3,87) = 11.91, p = .043). The QE was shortest in condition [1] (1787.85ms) and increased to condition [2] (1939.78ms) and condition [3] (2076.51ms), with the longest QE in condition [4] (2164.08ms). More detailed analysis of the QE reveal that it was the proportion of the QE that occurred before movement initiation (pre-QE) which increased with shot difficulty, rather than the proportion that occurred during the swing (Online-QE; see Vine et al., 2013).

Results support the notion that more complex tasks are associated with a longer QE duration, specifically participants appear to spend longer fixating the target prior to movement. This likely reflects the time needed to process visual information gathered in a pre-performance routine, to inhibit external distraction, and to pre-programme the increasingly difficult parameters of the movement.

Vickers, J.N. (1996). Visual control when aiming at a far target. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 22, 342-354.
Vine, S.J. et al. (2013). Quiet eye and choking: Online control breaks down at the point of performance failure. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 45, 1988-1994.

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:

Klostermann, André


700 Arts > 790 Sports, games & entertainment


André Klostermann

Date Deposited:

25 Aug 2014 14:26

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:36


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