An Action-Incongruent Secondary Task Modulates Prediction Accuracy in Experienced Performers: Evidence for Motor Simulation

TitleAn Action-Incongruent Secondary Task Modulates Prediction Accuracy in Experienced Performers: Evidence for Motor Simulation
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsMulligan D, Lohse K, Hodges NJ
JournalPsychological Research
Volume80
Issue4
Start Page496-509
Date Published06/2016
Keywordsaction-observation, Anticipation, Expertise, visual-motor processes
AbstractWe provide behavioural evidence that the human motor system is involved in the perceptual decision processes of skilled performers, directly linking prediction accuracy to the (in)ability of the motor system to activate in a response specific way. Experienced and Non-Experienced darts players were asked to predict, from temporally occluded video sequences, the landing position of a dart thrown previously by themselves (Self) or another (Other). This prediction task was performed whilst additionally performing; (a) an action incongruent secondary motor task (right arm force-production), (b) a congruent secondary motor task (mimicking) or (c) an attention-matched task (tone-monitoring). Non-Experienced dart players were not affected by any of the secondary task manipulations, relative to control conditions, yet prediction accuracy decreased for the Experienced players when additionally performing the force production, motor task. This interference effect was present for ‘Self’ as well as ‘Other’ decisions, reducing the accuracy of Experienced participants to a novice level. The mimicking (congruent) secondary task condition did not interfere with (or facilitate) prediction accuracy for either group. We conclude that visual-motor experience moderates the process of decision making, such that a seemingly visual-cognitive prediction task relies on activation of the motor system for Experienced performers. This fits with a motor simulation account of action prediction in sports and other tasks, and alerts to the specificity of these simulative processes.
DOI10.1007/s00426-015-0672-y
Refereed DesignationRefereed