ATTENTIONAL FOCUS EFFECTS ON MOTOR PERFORMANCE AS A FUNCTION OF LEVEL OF EXPERTISE
Gabriele Wulf, Merrill Landers, John Mercer, and Thomas Töllner (2004)
A number of recent studies have shown that the performer’s focus of attention has an important influence on the performance and learning of motor skills (see Wulf & Prinz, 2001, for a review). Specifically, instructions or feedback that direct the performer’s attention to the effects that her or his movements have on the environment (external focus) have been demonstrated to lead to more effective learning than directing attention to the movements themselves (internal focus). Importantly, external focus benefits have not only been found relative to internal focus conditions, but also relative to control conditions (Landers et al., 2003; McNevin & Wulf, 2002; Wulf et al., 1998, Experiment 1; Wulf & McNevin, in press; Wulf, Weigelt, Poulter, & McNevin, 2003). That is, inducing an external focus resulted in performance advantages, while internal focus conditions and control conditions with no specific focus instructions produced similar and less effective performance or learning of motor skills.