Attentional focus, perceived target size, and movement kinematics under performance pressure

Robert Gray, Rouwen Cañal-Bruland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The present study examined the relationship between attentional focus, perceived hole size, and radial putting error in a golf task. Twenty-five experienced golfers were asked to produce size estimates immediately after completing a putt. To assess their attentional focus, one of two secondary tasks (chosen randomly) was performed next. In the Hole task, participants were asked to indicate whether a sound played during their putting stroke was presented to the left or right of the hole. In the Club task, they were asked to indicate whether the sound occurred closer to the beginning or end of their backswing. Participants completed three phases: a no pressure pretest, a pressure phase, and a no pressure posttest. There were substantial individual differences in the effects of pressure on putting kinematics: 11 golfers (designated the Choke group) showed significant changes in kinematic variables and heart rate, and 14 golfers (designated the Clutch group) showed no significant change in these variables. For the Choke group, putting error and the accuracy on the Club task significantly increased during the pressure phase while size estimates and accuracy on the Hole task significantly decreased. There were no significant changes in any of these variables for the Clutch group. These findings provide further evidence for the attentional accentuation hypothesis of action-specific effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1692-1700
Number of pages9
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Action
  • Perception
  • Performance
  • Sports

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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