Probing expert anticipation with the temporal occlusion paradigm: experimental investigations of some methodological issues

Two experiments were conducted to examine whether the conclusions drawn regarding the timing of anticipatory information pick-up from temporal occlusion studies are influenced by whether (a) the viewing period is of variable or fixed duration and (b) the task is a laboratory-based one with simple responses or a natural one requiring a coupled, interceptive movement response. Skilled and novice tennis players either made pencil-and-paper predictions of service direction (Experiment 1) or attempted to hit return strokes (Experiment 2) to tennis serves while their vision was temporally occluded in either a traditional progressive mode (where more information was revealed in each subsequent occlusion condition) or a moving window mode (where the visual display was only available for a fixed duration with this window shifted to different phases of the service action). Conclusions regarding the timing of information pick-up were generally consistent across display mode and across task setting lending support to the veracity and generalisability of findings regarding perceptual expertise in existing laboratory-based progressive temporal occlusion studies.