McRobert, Allistair P., Williams, Andrew M., Ward, Paul and Eccles, David W. (2009) Tracing the process of expertise in a simulated anticipation task. Ergonomics, 52 (4). pp. 474-483. ISSN 0014-0139

Skilled perceptual-cognitive performance is assumed to require superior anticipation, yet few researchers have explored how individual differences in processing measures mediate superior performance, particularly when characteristics of the task are systematically changed from trial to trial. This study examined how advance cue information influences anticipation using a simulated cricket batting task. Skilled (n = 10) and less skilled (n = 10) batters moved in response to life-size video images of 36 deliveries by fast and spin bowlers. Skilled participants (mean 37.3, SD 2.8 mm) were significantly more accurate at anticipating ball position as it passed through the strike zone than less skilled batters (mean 48.9, SD 5.9 mm, p < 0.05). Skilled batters fixated on central areas of the body and searched more locations (p < 0.05). Batters used fixations of longer duration and focused more on the ball and hand when viewing spin compared to fast bowlers (both p < 0.05). Visual behaviour is constrained by the task parameters and participant skill level. An analysis of immediate retrospective reports and eye fixations indicated that skilled batters search and encode scenes at a richer and more sophisticated level than less skilled players.

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