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Perceptual-cognitive expertise in dynamic, time-constrained tasks

Faculty of Sport, Health, and Applied Science

London United Kingdom Neuroscience Psychology Sport & Exercise Science Sport Performance

About the Project

Title: Perceptual-cognitive expertise in dynamic, time-constrained tasks

Based in: Research Centre for Applied Performance Science, Faculty of Sport, Allied Health, and Performance Science, St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London

Start date: The student should be willing to begin as soon as possible.

The successful candidate will work under the supervision of Dr Jamie North, Dr André Roca and Dr Colm Murphy. Experience of conducting experimental research is essential, while experience of employing methods and techniques in cognitive psychology (e.g., eye movement recording) and/or neuroscience (e.g., EMG, fMRI) is desirable. Throughout the PhD, there will be opportunities to gain teaching experience on modules covering topics such as skill acquisition, sport psychology and research methods.

Project Details

Expert performers are frequently required to make effective decisions in response to rapidly unfolding situations. Research in sport has demonstrated that in such time-constrained conditions, expert athletes can both pick up and utilise relevant environmental information and draw upon prior knowledge related to the context of the situation to anticipate and make better decisions than less-expert counterparts (Murphy, Jackson, & Williams, 2019; Runswick, Roca, Williams, McRobert, & North, 2018). Although our knowledge of how environmental and contextual information influence expert anticipation has increased in recent years, we are still somewhat limited in our understanding of the way these information sources are used during expert performance, and indeed how the skills needed to do so are developed.

It is envisaged that the PhD will involve a series of empirical studies which will be guided by the Expert Performance Approach (Ericsson & Smith, 1991). First, expert performance in an environment containing information that would be readily available in the performance environment will be captured. Second, the processes underpinning expert performance will be examined, in particular how experts utilise/prioritise information sources under various constraints that characterise the performance environment. Methods from cognitive psychology (gaze tracking, collection of verbal reports) and/or neuroscience (fMRI, EEG) may be employed at this stage. Finally, the PhD will focus on determining how the skills underpinning expert performance are developed through training/practice. In particular, how the perceptual-cognitive skills underpinning the effective utilisation of environmental and contextual information are developed through training/practice will be investigated at this point. The findings of the PhD will have important theoretical and applied implications.

How to Apply:

Please contact Dr Jamie North (), Dr André Roca (), or Dr Colm Murphy () if you have any queries or for an informal discussion regarding the PhD research project.

Funding Notes

This is a self-funded project

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