Cognitive Processing Abilities Associated With Successful Sports Performance
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For this project, static and dynamic measures were used to assess attentional styles of basketball players varying in expertise. In Experiment 1, 34 undergraduates (18 with high school experience, 16 with no experience) completed the Group Embedded Figures Test (GEFT) as a static measure of attentional style, and attempted 50 jump shots with or without defenders present. In Experiment 2, for 15 NCAA and 15 NBA games, data were collected on the outcome and defenders of every jump shot. GEFT scores did not differentiate novice and expert players. However, with the dynamic measure based on susceptibility to distraction, players with high school experience were more field dependent than novices, whereas the NCAA and NBA players did not differ. These results suggest that dynamic measures of attentional style have greater predictive validity in sports, and that field-dependent processing abilities develop early and then plateau in basketball.