Attention alters appearances and solves the ’many-many problem’: implications for research in skill acquisition and execution
AbstractThis article states that research in skill acquisition and execution has underestimated the relevance of some features of attention. We present and theoretically discuss two essential features of attention that have been systematically overlooked in the research of skill acquisition and execution. First, attention alters the appearance of the perceived stimuli in an essential way; and second, attention plays a fundamental role in action, being crucial for solving the so called ’many-many problem’, that is to say, the problem of generating a coherent behavior by selecting between many inputs and many potential outputs. We discuss the importance of these features for skill acquisition in sport. We also suggest empirical ways to assess the precise impact of taking them into consideration and at the same time we propose important implications for training derived from the ideas discussed in the paper.
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