The study of decision-making behavior in sport

Duarte Araújo


Research on decision-making in sport has received increasing attention by sport scientists during the last decade (Araújo, 2011). In fact we see that different theoretical perspectives, methodologies (García-Gonzalez, Araújo, Carvalho & del Villar, 2011; Williams & Abernethy, 2012), and applications to training (Ibáñez-Gijón, Travieso, Jacobs, 2011, Carvalho, Araújo, García-Gonzalez & Iglesias, 2011; Causer, Janelle, Vickers & Williams, 2012; Davids, Araújo, Hristovski, Passos & Chow, 2012) are very consolidated. In the next lines we emphasise the ecological dynamics approach. This approach avoids the “organismic asymmetry” (Davids & Araújo, 2010), i.e., looking only to the organism’s interior, between input and output, but aims to capture the reciprocal interaction between individual and environment.
Skilled behaviour consists of intentional adaptation to the constraints imposed by the environment during task performance (e.g., Araújo & Davids, 2009). In ecological dynamics, for a given task, a performer and the performance environment are treated as a pair of dynamical sub-systems that are coupled and interact mechanically and informationally. Their continuous interactions give rise to behavioural dynamics, a vector field with stable, avoided and changing system states.  Sudden transitions in behaviours indicate that decisions emerge in the ‘intending-perceiving-acting cycle’. These ideas imply that there should be a strong emphasis on the specificity of the relations between the individual and environment, in designing representative settings both for experiments and practice in sport (Davids et al., 2012).

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Araújo, D., Davids, K., & Hristovski, R. (2006). The ecological dynamics of decision making in sport. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 7, 653-676

Cordovil, R., Araujo, D., Davids, K., Gouveia, L., Barreiros, J., Fernandes, O. & Serpa, S. (2009). The influence of instructions and body-scaling as constraints on decision-making processes in team sports. European Journal of Sport Science, 9(3), 169-179.

Correia, V., Araújo, D., Craig, C., & Passos, P. (2011). Prospective Information for Pass Decisional Behaviour in Rugby Union. Human Movement Science, 30, 984-997

Davids, K., & Araújo, D. (2010). The concept of 'Organismic Asymmetry' in sport science. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 13(6), 633-640.

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Esteves, P., Oliveira, R. d., & Araújo, D. (2011). Posture-related affordances guide attacks in basketball. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 12, 639-644.

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RICYDE. Revista Internacional de Ciencias del Deporte
Publisher: Ramón Cantó Alcaraz
ISSN:1885-3137 - Periodicidad Trimestral / Quarterly
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