1University of Porto, Faculty of Sports, Centre of Research, Education, Innovation and Intervention in Sport, Porto, Portugal
Theoretical Issues and Methodological Implications in Researching Visual Search Behaviours: A Preliminary Study Comparing the Cognitive and Ecologic Paradigms
A number of research papers have been devoted to understanding the mechanisms underpinning successful decision-making in sports, and analysis of eye movements has deserved special attention in this concern. A thorough reading of existing literature denotes that research on ocular fixations requires at least 100 milliseconds within the same location. For average eye-tracking systems, this means using at least three frames for each fixation. However, ecological psychology has claimed that as low as 16.67 milliseconds might suffice to capture relevant information, implying using merely one frame to consider that a fixation has been made. The goal of this experiment was to directly compare two systems (one frame-one fixation versus three frames-one fixation) for coding information concerning eye movements in a representative volleyball task in an in situ condition. Specifically, it was intended to analyse emerging differences and their meaning. Results exhibited statistically significant differences with regard to search rate (number of fixations, number of fixation locations, and mean fixation duration). Analysing fixation locations it was apparent that the ecological paradigm for considering visual fixations afforded supplementary information. Furthermore, the additional emerging cues appeared to be meaningful, and the level of noise introduced was very low. It is suggested that future research in eye movements considers using the one frame-one fixation approach, instead of the traditional three frames-one fixation set.
decision-making, visual search behaviours, methodology of investigation
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