Investigating the cognitive demands on experts’ decision-making in applied sport psychology

Ozan Vardal, Amanda Martindale

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Objectives - Literature in the domain of Applied Sport Psychology (ASP) has underscored the importance of investigating and developing decision-making expertise for practitioners in the field. However, prior to this study, research into this aspect of ASP was largely case study based. Design - Seeking to address this gap in the research, we investigated the cognitive demands on decision-making in a sample of highly experienced sport psychology practitioners operating from a cognitive-behavioural perspective. Methods - Participants (3 male; mean years of experience = 25.34; SD = 4.93) were selected based on years of experience in professional practice, recognition from relevant UK-based supervisory bodies (e.g., BPS masterclass presenter) and experience in elite sport environments (e.g., Olympics). In-depth interviews were conducted using Applied Cognitive Task Analysis (ACTA) techniques to elicit the knowledge of these participants and identify the critical cues and strategies, difficulties, and novice errors associated with case formulation and intervention delivery. Results – Findings were merged into a cognitive demands table comprising the cognitively complex elements of decision-making involved in consultation. These included gaining acceptance, pattern identification, putting the client first, attending to paralinguistic cues, and testing hypotheses. Conclusions – The study provided support for previous stipulations regarding interplay between intuitive and analytical modes of decision-making in professional practice, and highlighted several nuances of intervention delivery previously unmentioned in the literature. Also demonstrated was the value of using knowledge extraction methods such as ACTA. Limitations regarding generalizability of the study were acknowledged.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2017
EventBPS Division of Sport & Exercise Psychology Conference - Glasgow
Duration: 11 Dec 201712 Dec 2017


ConferenceBPS Division of Sport & Exercise Psychology Conference


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