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Working Memory, Attentional Control, and Expertise in Sports: A Review of Current Literature and Directions for Future Research

Wood, GW (2016) Working Memory, Attentional Control, and Expertise in Sports: A Review of Current Literature and Directions for Future Research. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition. ISSN 2211-3681

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Abstract

The aim of the present review was to investigate the theoretical framework of working memory as it relates to the control of attention in sport and thereby apply cognitive psychological theory to sports, but also use the sports domain to advance cognitive theory. We first introduce dual-process theories as an overarching framework for attention-related research in sports. Then a central mechanism is highlighted how working memory is involved in the control of attention in sports by reviewing research demonstrating that the activated contents in working memory control the focus of attention. The second part of the paper reviews literature showing that working memory capacity is an important individual difference variable that is predictive of controlling attention in a goal-directed manner and avoiding distraction and interference in sports. Finally, we address the question whether differences in working memory capacity contribute to sport expertise.

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