Situational familiarity and its relation to decision quality in ice-hockey

MSL research field: 
TitleSituational familiarity and its relation to decision quality in ice-hockey
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsMulligan, D, McCracken, J, Hodges, NJ
JournalInternational Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Date Published04/2012
Type of Articleon-line
Keywordsdecision making, ice hockey

Field-based observation, including helmet-mounted cameras, was employed to study pattern-matching aspects of decision-making in ice-hockey. We were interested in the role of situational familiarity in decision making and decision quality. Expert and non-expert players were videotaped during competition. In retrospective interviews, prompted by the game videos, players were asked about the role that familiarity (both event and rule-based), played in their decision-process. Decision quality and decision outcome were assessed retrospectively by two expert coaches. Experts described decision-making situations as ‘familiar’ twice as often as non-experts. Although rule-based decisions were more common, only for decisions based on recognition of the event, were familiar decisions rated as better quality. This pattern-matching aspect of the decision-making process and its relationship to decision quality has implications for theories of decision making in dynamic sports.

Refereed DesignationRefereed
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