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Modulation of the Spatial Extent of the Attentional Focus in High-level Volleyball Players

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In this study, we explored the ability of first league professional volleyball players to modulate the allocation of attentional resources in the visual space by adapting the size of the attentional focus. Like Castiello and Umilta (1990), we employed an experimental procedure that is a variation of Posner's (1980) paradigm for exploring covert orienting of visuospatial attention. In a signalled reaction time task, a peripheral cue of varying size was presented unilaterally or bilaterally of a central fixation point, followed by a target at different stimulus onset asynchronies. The target could occur validly inside the cue or invalidly outside it with varying spatial relation to its boundary. Our results suggest that volleyball players are better able than controls to modulate the distribution of attentional resources within and around peripherally cued areas. Moreover, volleyball players seem to be able to flexibly adapt the gradient of attentional resources around the cued area, as would be expected from their sport practice.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/713752275

Publication date: September 1, 1998

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