Dispositional reinvestment and skill failure in cognitive and motor tasks


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Abstract

Objective:The objective of the study was to examine the moderating effect of dispositional reinvestment upon ‘choking’ in motor and cognitive tasks.Method:Sixty-three university students (40 males, 23 females) completed low-complexity (peg-board) and high-complexity (golf putting) tests of motor skill, card sorting and working memory (modular arithmetic) under low-pressure and high-pressure conditions.Results:Pressure had a deleterious effect on performance in the peg-board motor task, led to faster but more error-prone performance in the high-complexity card-sorting task, and led to more errors in the high-complexity modular arithmetic task. High reinvestment scale scores were significantly correlated with performance decrements from low to high-pressure conditions in both the peg-board and golf-putting tasks, and in both modular arithmetic tasks. Conversely, in the card-sorting tasks, higher reinvestment scores were associated with a speeding of performance from the low to high-pressure conditions.Discussion:Our findings suggest that the association between reinvestment and choking extends beyond the motor skill domain to cognitive tasks, particularly those that place significant demands on working memory, and that this relationship is moderated by task complexity. The nature of the relationships between skill failure and sub-scales of the Reinvestment Scale, together with the extent to which these tap into explicit monitoring/conscious processing and distraction-based accounts of choking, is discussed.

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