The roles of implicit and explicit cognitions in sport


The roles of implicit and explicit cognitions in sport: Attention, perception, pressure, and performance

with Rich Masters, Institute of Human Performance, University of Hong Kong

The past fifteen years have witnessed a steady increase in research examining the roles of implicit and explicit cognitions in sport. Implicit cognitions are largely unavailable to consciousness, minimally reliant on attentional resources, and are difficult to convey to other individuals, whereas explicit cognitions are typically verbally based (but can be pictorial), accessible to consciousness, attention demanding, and can be communicated to other individuals (for a recent review see Masters & Maxwell, 2004).

Previous studies have examined the role of implicit cognitions during motor learning and subsequent performance. The evidence to date suggests that implicit learning places a lighter load on attentional resources and produces skills that are resistant to the effects of performance pressure (e.g. psychological stress and physiological fatigue).

In this symposium we present data that furthers our understanding of the roles of implicit and explicit cognitions as they relate to attentional demands, unconscious perception of task relevant information, performance under pressure, and extended learning periods. The results suggest that both implicit and explicit cognitions have an important part to play in sport performance and that future research should concentrate on identifying the circumstance under which they are optimized and the nature of their interactions.

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