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Title:Attention and Motor Skills
Author(s):Mcfarquhar, Robin Henry
Department / Program:Physical Education
Discipline:Physical Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Physical
Abstract:An attempt was initially made to define the concept of attention and what it meant to state that someone was attending in any particular situation. It was suggested, as a result of the conceptual analysis, that a common mistake had been made in research to date viz., that of believing that one is measuring attention whereas the actual measure may be of the demands of attending.
A critique was then made of the most common method of measuring the demands of attending during the performance of a discrete motor skill, that of a key press response to a tone. It was contended that this method structurally interferes with the performance of the primary movement task. This interference has hitherto remained unseen because of the generally accepted technique of analysing obtained data.
A technique that may by-pass the problem of structural interference and still measure the demands of attending was suggested; a verbal response to an absolute tone discrimination task. Four experiments involving either a digit memorization or discrete movement task were conducted, to examine secondary task manual key press and verbal response performance. The results of the experiments were very consistent and showed the following. The verbal response to a difficult tone discrimination produced essentially the same "attention demands" function as a key press response but without the additional interference. The level of the difficulty of the discrimination, however, affected the obtained function and warrants further investigation. The key press response to the tone discrimination interferes with the performance of the movement task only if the final response occurs within, or very close to the termination of the primary movement under investigation. This was shown by an increase in constant error scores, which in turn, were supported by measures showing lower peak accelerations achieved over a longer period of time and an additional increase in the length of the acceleration phase of the movement.
The results of the experiments imply that much of the research in the area of attention demands of motor skills may have been contaminated by structural interference. In addition the experiments themselves may not be measuring attention but the demands associated with attending. More thought, then, needs to be given to precisely what the experimenter wishes to measure, and work still needs to be completed to develop a measure that is valid and not affected by structural interference with the primary movement task.
Issue Date:1985
Description:225 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1985.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8511639
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1985

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