The effect of spatial working memory capacity on ball flight perception
Batting in baseball or softball represents a physically and perceptually challenging task. Changes in flight of a high-speed pitched ball require quick and accurate predictions of future location. To be successful, an individual must be able to rapidly gather and process visual information, suggesting an emphasis on spatial working memory. The current experiment assessed if individuals of variant expertise levels (novices and varsity softball players) differed in ability to determine future locations of a pitched ball based on different pitch types and durations. Data suggest an impressive base capability for visual motion prediction including a time appropriate ability to predict motion timing. Additionally, while not central to this capability, data suggest a relevance for spatial working memory in predicting speed. These results demonstrate a need to further investigate a base ability in motion prediction as well as the impact of working memory in high performance skills.
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