Conference Publication Details
Mandatory Fields
Campbell, M. & Smyth, P.J.
International Conference on Thinking (ICOT)
Meta-attention in Professional Skills: Beyond Routines
Optional Fields
attention meta-attention sport skills pre-performance routines performance routines visual attention

As William James, one of the founding fathers of psychology famously declared, “Everyone knows what attention is” (1890). Or do we? Meta-attention, quite simply, relates to ones understanding or awareness of the processes of attention. We have all been told down the years to ‘tune in’, ‘pay attention’ or ‘don’t let your mind wander’, but questions such as- What processes mediate attention? And how can I improve my attentional skills? are important for learning in all contexts. Attention and meta-attention has seen a recent upsurge in empirical interest from psychology and cognitive neuroscience among others (Vickers, 2007; Wilson, Wood & Vine, 2009). Given this interest, the current paper will examine meta-attention in professional skills, namely sport skills. Visual attentional control will be examined in light of recent and ongoing research into a phenomenon known as Quiet Eye (Cambell & Moran, 2005; 2006; Vine & Wilson, 2011. Quiet eye is a long steady visual fixation on a target during the pre shot routine immediately prior to executing a sports skill (e.g. golf putt) and has been associated with increased cognitive processing and superior subsequent performance (Vickers, 1992, 2007; 2009). Quiet eye findings have the potential to increase our understanding of visual attention and also to teach strategies to augment visual attention in sport and learning environments.

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