Action-specific effects on perception are grounded in affordance perception: An examination of soccer players’ action choices in a free-kick task

Gareth Paterson */**, John Van Der Kamp **/***, Elizabeth Bressan * and Geert Savelsbergh **/****

(*) Centre for Human Performance Science, Faculty of Science, Stellenbosch University, South-Africa
(**) Research Institute MOVE, Faculty of Human Movement Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands
(***) Institute of Human Performance, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China
(****) Academy for Physical Education, University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands

Citation

Paterson, G., Van Der Kamp, J., Bressan, E., Savelsbergh, G. (2016). Action-specific effects on perception are grounded in affordance perception: An examination of soccer players’ action choices in a free-kick task. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 47(4), 318-334. doi:10.7352/IJSP.2016.47.318

Abstract

The aim of the current study was to investigate how performance accuracy on a soccer free-kick task affects perception of the distance between the ball and goal as well as the perception of kickability. It was hypothesized that action-specific biases in perception of environmental properties (i.e., distance) would be grounded in affordance perception (i.e., kickability). We used a modified staircase procedure in order to investigate the accuracy with which skilled soccer players were able to perceive whether freekick situations presented over a wide range of distances from goal were kickable or not. Participants were also required to estimate the distances of the free-kicks from goal using a perceptual-matching task. Results showed that distance perception was correlated with kicking performance, but only at the boundary of the participants’ perceived kick capability. It was also found that perception of kickability was more strongly related to success in the free-kick task than distance perception per se. Results support the notion derived from Proffitt’s (2006) account that action-specific effects on the perception of the environment properties are grounded in the perception of affordances

Keywords: Affordances, Decision-making, Free-kick, Perception


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