Michael Dhaliwal’s MSc Thesis Proposal

Title: “Investigating Visual and Motor Influences on Action Prediction of a Volleyball Set Action”

Supervisor: Dr. Nicola Hodges
Committee members: Dr. Romeo Chua, Dr. Christian Vater (Research Fellow, University of Bern, Switzerland)

Abstract: In high performance sport, being able to anticipate the actions of opposing players is significant for accurate decision making. The process by which players perform this action has been studied from the viewpoint of an internal simulation, which allows players to prepare the appropriate motor response covertly. Empirical evidence has shown that those who have motor experience of an action can engage in this internal simulation, typically leading to more accurate predictions during observation than those without (Aglioti et al., 2008). However, even when an individual has little physical experience of the action, such as a goalkeeper predicting the direction of a penalty shot or a baseball batter discriminating an incoming pitch, anticipatory abilities are still strong, but these are thought to be a result of attunement to visual cues rather than an internal simulation (Chen et al., 2017; Tomeo et al., 2013). In this proposed research, I will use an online platform to study the influence of visual and motor experiences on action prediction in a volleyball set action with setters (i.e. motor experience) and blockers (i.e., visual experience). Using a temporal occlusion method where videos are frozen to occlude outcomes, I will compare skilled volleyball athletes and novices on an action prediction task, comparing videos shown from the same and different perspective as typically experienced (referred to as first- and third-person viewpoints). Through this research, I hope to discern the relative contributions of motor and/or visual expertise to action prediction accuracy, as well as determine the validity of performing a temporal occlusion task in an online format.