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Conscious processing of a complex motor skill: an investigation into the automaticity paradigm of full golf swing execution

Rousseau, Noel (2015)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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This thesis examines factors that influence the propensity to, and the utility of, conscious processing during a complex motor skill. Prevalent theories of skill acquisition and automaticity view expert performance as best executed in the absence of conscious control of the movement. There is substantial evidence to support this claim for simple tasks but a lack of research for complex skills is apparent. In this thesis the role of conscious processing (reinvestment) is examined in relation to the full golf swing in baseline and anxiety conditions.
The early experiments in the thesis examined the effects of limiting conscious processing through a temporal restriction. This paved the way for the later experiments that looked deeper into individualistic elements of personality and cognitive 'make up,' that may affect the control structures of the golf swing.
The results indicate that conscious processing during task performance affects individuals differently. A high 'verbaliser' group deteriorated while 'visualisers' showed improvement during restricted conscious input trials. Furthermore, both short­-term memory and working memory showed positive correlations with task performance.
Overall, this study implies a positive role for conscious control in the golf swing and questions the efficacy of reinvestment theory in relation to complex skills.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Bridge, Matt and Boardley, Ian
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
Department:School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
Subjects:BF Psychology
GV Recreation Leisure
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:6359
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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