Friday 15 May 2020

Anticipation and Decision Making in Sport

Today marks the day that I will start reading the book Anticipation and Decision Making in Sport: Theories and Applications, edited by A. Mark Williams and Robin C. Jackson.

You might wonder what this has to do with art and to explain the connection let me give you a quote from the 2003 publication Action Science, edited by Wolfgang Prinz:
'Professional basketball players are better able to predict whether or not an observed basketball shot will be successful than are sports journalists, who have extensive experience observing, but not producing, basketball shots.'

I found this telling for the relationship between somebody who produces, say an artist, and somebody who perceives the produced, say a critic. I also expect to find more quotes like this one in this book and hope to amend to this post with whatever catches my interest in the coming weeks.

19-5-2020: '[...] much work is still needed to understand fully how visual information is perceived and how this interacts dynamically with other perceptual or cognitive sources to result in the skillful motor act performed by few but enjoyed by many.'
Granted, this one is a little bit suggestive and its associations with art fall away in proper context, but as the final sentence in the first article, I thought it deserved a place anyway.

20-5-2020: 'Lesser skilled performers, in contrast, have accumulated less practice hours and so they have less sophisticated knowledge structures to guide their perceptual and cognitive processes, such that they are less able to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information sources. Consequently, information is encoded inefficiently, or irrelevant information is encoded, and there are fewer previously encountered situations in memory against which to judge this information. The net result of such processing is that pattern recognition is impaired (i.e. slower and/or less accurate).'

21-5-2020: 'While objective probabilities may not always be available, researchers have suggested that through frequent/repeated exposure to an opponent, expert athletes develop expectations that accurately reflect the probabilities associated with that opponents playing tendencies.'
And from the same article on contextual information:
'While expert athletes have developed the ability to intentionally generate expectations of how an opponent is likely to behave in order to improve their chances of anticipating effectively, in certain situations acting in accordance with these expectations can have negative effects. Specifically, if the action outcome is incongruent with the information used to form these expectations, anticipation and/or performance can be impaired. Mann and colleagues (2014) observed that participants who had developed expectations reflecting an opponent's action preferences experienced superior performance only if the action preference continued. When the opponent did not display this action preference, these expectations led to decrements in performance. Furthermore, susceptibility to deception may be increased when the intention conveyed by the fake action is aligned with the performer's expectations.' 
Further: 'Research on the congruence effect suggests that expert athletes should avoid developing expectations of the upcoming event due to the detrimental effect of using this information when it is incongruent with the action outcome. However, this finding appears contradictory to the notion of that expertise is characterised by the more effective and efficient use of domain-specific information to anticipate the opponent's intentions.'

23-5-2020: 'In order to pick up meaningful information from an array of visual information, skilled athletes typically use structured and systematic visual search patterns rather than merely random strategies.'
'in one-on-one defensive scenarios in football, during the early movement phases, elite players fixate more frequently on the knee and hip regions of their opponent, whilst novices fixate more frequently on the ball' 'In addition to the analysis of gaze location, scientists have examined the rate at which the fixations transition between different locations. The key finding is that, when compared with less-skilled performers, skilled athletes often make fewer fixations of longer duration.'
'Research into sport performers has consistently demonstrated positive effects of physical exertion on the speed of performing visual search tasks, but this is moderated by factors including physical fitness and skill level.'

3-6-2020: 'In keeping with Sors et al., Canal-Bruland, Müller, Lach and Spence recently showed that the louder the sounds of the contact between the racket and ball in tennis, the longer experienced tennis players estimated the ball's trajectory to be. Notably, participants were not aware that the sound had been manipulated and hence the sound had implicitly biased their judgements.'
' The common coding theory predicts that the degree of overlap between perceptual and motor representations will determine the extent to which perception may be enhanced by motor expertise. It follows that humans should be perceptually more attuned to actions that match their own motor experience and skills.'

4-6-2020: 'expert athletes efficiently use gaze behaviours to extract important information from the visual scene, can ignore distractions and focus attention and posses the capability to integrate multiple sources of information with previous experiences to accurately anticipate opponents' movements.'
'Empirical evidence has established that state anxiety interferes with a variety of perceptual processes, such as visuospatial working memory and attentional shifting. Additionally, deficiencies in visual search behaviour have been documented under anxiety-inducing conditions, including decreased information extraction using foveal and peripheral vision, increased gaze time on task-irrelevant stimuli, increased visual search rates, decreased ability to detect targets, alterations in visual fixation duration and changes in the quiet-eye period. Deficits in the ability to effectively use contextual information to make accurate anticipatory judgements have also been reported.'

5-6-2020: 'Beyond the study of basic cognitive processes, such as perception, memory, and attention, research using neuroscience methods has led to the realisation that a large proportion of human brain circuitry is involved in understanding, predicting, and reacting to the actions of other people.'
'In a TMS study (Aglioti, Cesari, Romani, & Urgesi, 2008), basketball athletes predicted the outcome of shots at the basket earlier and more accurately than observers with relevant visual experience (coaches and sports journalists). TMS [Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation] applied to the motor cortex revealed facilitation of MEPs [Motor Evoked Potentials] that occurred only in the visual-motor experts (expert basketballers) and not in the visual experts (experienced coaches). This effect occurred only when participants viewed shots that were destined to miss, only at the point of release, and only in one hand muscle that is involved in controlling the ball's trajectory. This study provided evidence in favour of the finely tuned coupling of visual and motor experience (motor resonance) as the basis for anticipation in sport.'  This is about the same study that the citation at the beginning of this post relates to.

14-6-2020: 'an observer's motor abilities (such as their ability to kick or throw accurately) exert a direct effect on perceptual understanding of these actions in others. It is thought that the brain uses motor representations, based on past experiences, to internally simulate the actions observed in others to aid in the anticipation of action consequences.'
'In several studies, researchers have shown that people are better able to recognise and/or predict the consequences of their own actions, compared to those of others. For example, they were better able to predict the landing position of a dart thrown previously by themselves, rather than others, just by viewing body kinematics (i.e. no dart flight was shown).'
'Physically trained performers were better able to predict the trajectory of their own strokes than those of others, even though none of the ball flight was shown, and the athletes were shown only as moving points of light.'
'Both groups that received physical practice (with and without vision) improved at the prediction task in comparison to no-practice and observation-only groups, and improvements were seen in the early frames before dart release. These results confirmed the suggestion that motor experience is important for predictive accuracy, and at least for a task based on passive observation, visual experience was not.'

19-6-2020: 'Fajen proposed that the visual control of behaviour is predicated on a performer's information use which is calibrated to their own capabilities, which place an action boundary on the control of prospective actions.'

20-6-2020: 'It is predicted that the ability of performers to recognise advance cues in the environment, which enables them to anticipate what will happen next, will likely place them in a better position to make decisions that are unexpected and less easily predicted by their opponent(s), thereby facilitating tactical creativity.'
'A narrow breadth of attention limits the amount of stimuli and information that can be perceived and reduces the potential of discovering unique and original solutions. A wide breath of attention makes it possible to associate different stimuli that initially appear to be irrelevant. The findings by Memmert (2007) highlight the fact that using an attention-broadening programme can promote the development of creativity in children.'
'One of the assumptions of the common theory (discussed by Cropley, 1995) is confirmed; high intelligence is correlated with low to moderate levels of creativity, whilst higher levels of game intelligence are accompanied by higher tactical creativity.'
'Many researchers have shown that creativity must be learned and developed early in life.' 'Comparisons between age constellations show that creativity of performance in children and adolescents does not develop linearly. From 7 to 10 years of age, considerable increases in tactical creativity are evident. This can be connected to the fact that the absolute number of synapses and the synapse density reaches its maximum in this age range.'

23-6-2020: 'In particular, people tend to base their estimates on information from non-random samples and they are usually unaware that this is occurring and are thus unable to correct any biased samples. In addition, the environment can selectively provide relevant information to the decision maker. To all these factors, the influence of emotional and motivational processes must be added, which play a major role in judgement and decision making.'
'Within the heuristics and biases point of view, the most significant flaw of judgement by intuition is the inconsistency that people demonstrate. For example, information presented to human judges on several occasions leads them to different conclusions, although there is no change in the information itself.' 'Nevertheless, experts often overestimate the quality of their predictions and are usually convinced that their intuition, gut feelings and experience cannot mislead them.'
 'The judgement and decision making-based simple heuristic perspective of recognition relies on the fact that one decision option is recognised and the other is not. For instance, it has been show that when amateur tennis players are asked to predict the outcome of individual matches, in the majority of the cases (90%) in which the participants recognise only one of the players, they predicted the recognised player would win.'

27-6-2020: 'The research discussed here highlights that thinking too much, be it about the process of decision making or ruminating about poor past decisions, is detrimental to performance.'

6-7-2020: ' Gilis et al. showed that international-level football assistant referees were significantly more accurate than national-level assistant referees in recalling the spatial position of players in complex offside situations.' 'As with athletes, these findings show that the ability to process game information is a crucial component of expertise that contributes to better decision making.'
'When compared to sub-elite referees, elite referees spent significantly more time fixating on the most informative cues emerging from the attacking player (contact zone) and less time fixating on the body part that was not involved in the infringement (non-contact zone). It appears that elite-level referees are able to discern relevant from irrelevant information and their visual search behaviour appears to be primarily driven by acquired knowledge structures. In contrast, the sub-elite referees, having acquired less experience, are often misled by salient and irrelevant information.'
'In regard to perceiving the event, researchers have shown that viewing perspective is an essential factor that contributes to the accuracy of decisions. In association football, error rates for foul decisions are lowest when incidents are assessed from a distance of 11-15 metres.'
'Brand, Schmidt, and Schneeloch showed that basketball referees penalised contact situations differently when presented in the original match order compared to a random presentation order.' 'Moreover, other contextual information, such as a player's or a team's uniform, reputation, or physical appearance, can bias the decisions of officials.'
'Researchers have shown that experience from match competitions and play activities may contribute to individual performance differences. For example, the majority of elite officials were players prior to their officiating career. There are only limited data available in this regard; however, a link has been identified between the quality of sports officials' judgements and their motor and visual experiences. This is consistent with an embodied cognition viewpoint, which predicts that both motor and visual experience support perceptual expertise.' 

22-7-2020: 'Traditionally, this coach intervention involves subjective observations that can potentially be unreliable, inaccurate, or both because they are based on perceptions, biases, and previous experiences. For example, international-level football coaches could only recall 30% of the key variables that determined success and were less than 45% correct in a postgame assessment of what occurred during the game (Franks & Miller, 1991).
'The challenge in developing training interventions that facilitate the development of anticipation and decision making using video and other performance analysis methods is the near absence of any empirical work upon which to base such research, with the notable exception of the recent papers by García-González et al. (2013) and Gil-Arias et al. (2015). Yet, the area is ripe for well-conducted experimental work in order to shift the culture towards one driven by the need for evidence-based interventions rather than the current over-reliance on intuition, anecdote, and historical precedence.
We call for researchers to conduct more work in this area using traditional pre- to post-test research designs and measures of retention and transfer. Moreover, adequate control and placebo groups are needed to allow for better evaluation of the effectiveness of these types of interventions, and to determine the extent to which any improvements transfer to the field setting.'