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Perception/Action in Sport

Immersive Interactive Virtual Reality (I2VR)  provides us with the ideal tool to study how perceptual information influences decisions about when and how to act, particularly when studied  in a sporting  context (see Immersive Interactive VR for system details). Since setting up the immersive interactive virtual reality (I2VR) facility in 2006, we have worked at improving the    functionality of our system and the capabilities of simulating behaviour within our virtual environments. Much of this has been due to our collaboration with M2S in Rennes, particularly Dr Benoit Bideau and Dr Richard Kulpa. Benoit is one of the pioneers in using VR to study sports performance and Richard Kulpa is the matermind behind MKM (now a movement animation engine that allows for realistic representations of biological motion in a virtual environment).

These developments have allowed us to study something as complex as deceptive movement in rugby (PhD Sebastien Brault), judging the passability of a gap between two defenders (PhD Gareth Watson) and online decision making (PhD Vanda Correia). Ulster Rugby have provided invaluable support for this work in giving us access to elite players so that we can also study the effects of expertise.

We are also continuing to look at curved free kicks soccer. Recently this has been in collaboration with Dr Joost Dessing at the Centre for Vision Research, York University Canada. We are interested in understanding why cruved free-kicks are more difficult for a goal-keeper to stop? By incorporating hand trackers into our I2VR set-up we have been able to look at how goal-keepers intercept curved free kicks (see Immersive Interactive Virtual Reality papers). We have been able to examine how ball trajectory influences movement and how expert goal-keepers adopt different strategies to deal with the unpredictability of spin (see recent paper in PLoS One).

Contact Information

Cathy Craig
School of Psychology
Queen's University Belfast
18-30 Malone Road
BELFAST BT7 1NN

Email: cathy.craig@qub.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0) 2890 97 5482

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