Pressure enhances online control when 'I' don't know I need to correct, but reduces it when 'I' do: Motor control strategies and state anxiety

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This series of studies directly investigated the effects of pressure and available cognitive resources on online and offline control. We tested pressured target-directed accuracy in situations where the distribution of online and offline control is a 'voluntary' strategy and when successful accuracy depends on the 'forced' use of online motor control i.e., unpredictable cursor jump trials. We investigated these processes under normal and ego depleted conditions and examined how reinvestment propensity may lead to different motor control strategies under pressure. In study 1 (n = 14), online motor control, as described by significant decreases in within-subject SDs at the later stages of limb trajectory, was impaired in pressured compared to non-pressured conditions. However, individuals used compensatory resources to shift from an online to an offline-dependent control strategy to maintain outcome performance under pressure. When the cursor representing limb trajectory unexpectedly jumped, online motor control (correction magnitudes) improved in pressured compared to non-pressured conditions. These results were replicated in study 2 (n=60) with reinvestment propensity correlating with greater online to offline control strategy shifts during pressured (no-jump) conditions. Study 3 (n=62), again revealed that pressured online motor control was impaired in no-jump trials but enhanced in jump trials. Furthermore, ego depleted participants saw a reduction in the efficiency of shifting from an online to offline control strategy to maintain performance under the no-jump pressured trials. Thus, pressure enhances forced online control and reduces voluntary online control. With the latter, only compensated for via shifts in control strategy when sufficient cognitive resources are available.
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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