Going against the grain: Performance when relevant proprioceptive afferent information is congruent with focus of attention

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Benefits of an external focus of attention (EFOA) have been shown to govern several characteristics of skill execution. Constrained Action Hypothesis accounts for this with the notion that an EFOA promotes automaticity in response programming. However, researchers have proposed a facilitative 'somaesthetic awareness' when making movement adjustments for error correction. The current rationale was to investigate FOA in a task where proprioceptive information was integral to movement accuracy. Researchers adopted a repeated-measures counterbalanced design with participants completing a no vision leg-extension task under an EFOA and internal (IFOA). For each trial, participants extended their non-dominant leg to encode one of three leg-angles before having to accurately recall the same leg-angle. Following acquisition, participants completed a transfer task, which employed different angles in the encoding phase. A second group of participants completed the experiment with a weight attached to their lower leg in order to enhance salience of proprioceptive information. Dependent measures included constant error, variable error and movement time at different kinematic markers of the movement trajectory (i.e. pka, pkv, pkna, end). CE results revealed non-significant main effects for FOA (p=0.34) and weight (p=0.14) as well as a non-significant FOA x weight interaction (p=0.25). Trends suggested a benefit from an EF in the no-weight condition, but when salience of proprioceptive information was amplified, an IF became superior. Presumably, through an increased focus on movement characteristics, it is possible that participants adopting an IF were better able to process proprioceptive feedback and adjust movements online: something not afforded under an EF.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationJournal of Exercise, Movement, and Sport
Subtitle of host publicationSCAPPS refereed abstracts repository
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2018
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