Considering the role of cognitive control in expert performance

Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 14 (4):1127-1144 (2015)
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Abstract

Dreyfus and Dreyfus’ influential phenomenological analysis of skill acquisition proposes that expert performance is guided by non-cognitive responses which are fast, effortless and apparently intuitive in nature. Although this model has been criticised for over-emphasising the role that intuition plays in facilitating skilled performance, it does recognise that on occasions a form of ‘detached deliberative rationality’ may be used by experts to improve their performance. However, Dreyfus and Dreyfus see no role for calculative problem solving or deliberation when performance is going well. In the current paper, we draw on empirical evidence, insights from athletes, and phenomenological description to argue that ‘continuous improvement’ among experts is mediated by cognitive control in three distinct sporting situations. We conclude by arguing that Sutton et al. Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 42, 78–103 ‘applying intelligence to the reflexes’ approach may help to elucidate the process by which expert performers achieve continuous improvement through analytical/mindful behaviour during training and competition

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Barbara Gail Montero
CUNY Graduate Center

References found in this work

Phenomenology of perception.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1945 - Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey: The Humanities Press. Edited by Donald A. Landes.
Phenomenology of Perception.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1962 - New York: Routledge. Edited by Donald A. Landes.

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