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Journal of Ophthalmology
Volume 2014, Article ID 189268, 10 pages
Research Article

Response Time, Visual Search Strategy, and Anticipatory Skills in Volleyball Players

1Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences, Section of Human and General Physiology, University of Bologna, 40126 Bologna, Italy
2Department of Histology, Embryology and Applied Biology, University of Bologna, 40126 Bologna, Italy

Received 20 October 2013; Revised 2 January 2014; Accepted 11 April 2014; Published 30 April 2014

Academic Editor: Stefanie I. Becker

Copyright © 2014 Alessandro Piras et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper aimed at comparing expert and novice volleyball players in a visuomotor task using realistic stimuli. Videos of a volleyball setter performing offensive action were presented to participants, while their eye movements were recorded by a head-mounted video based eye tracker. Participants were asked to foresee the direction (forward or backward) of the setter’s toss by pressing one of two keys. Key-press response time, response accuracy, and gaze behaviour were measured from the first frame showing the setter’s hand-ball contact to the button pressed by the participants. Experts were faster and more accurate in predicting the direction of the setting than novices, showing accurate predictions when they used a search strategy involving fewer fixations of longer duration, as well as spending less time in fixating all display areas from which they extract critical information for the judgment. These results are consistent with the view that superior performance in experts is due to their ability to efficiently encode domain-specific information that is relevant to the task.