University of Limerick
Brick_2016_attentional.pdf (2 MB)

Attentional focus during endurance activity

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posted on 2023-02-10, 14:24 authored by Noel E. Brick
Attention involves not only a focus on objects or locations, but also on various thoughts or activities. During endurance activity, attention allocation has traditionally been viewed as a focus either on sensory information and task performance (i.e., association), or on distracting stimuli and away from feelings of exertion (i.e., dissociation). Accordingly, the primary aim of this thesis was to examine the dynamic interrelationships between attentional focus and endurance activity. Chapter two specifically aimed to review how association and dissociation have been conceptualised, and to introduce frameworks to guide future research on attentional focus in endurance activity. In an attempt to resolve some conceptual issues, a new model of attentional focus during endurance activity was developed based on an extension of previous models. Chapter three built upon this work and sought to apply a metacognitive perspective to better understand the influences on, and dynamics of attentional focus and cognitive control during endurance activity. The findings of ten semi-structured interviews revealed that metacognitive skills (e.g., planning and reviewing), and metacognitive experiences were fundamental to cognitive strategy use in elite endurance runners. The findings allowed for the development of a metacognitive framework of attentional focus and cognitive control during endurance activity. Applying this framework, the study presented in chapter four was the first to investigate the effects of manipulating perceptions of pace control and pace regulation on attentional focus, physiological, and psychological processes during running. The outcomes revealed that altering pace control and pace regulation impacted on attentional focus and subsequent endurance performance. Collectively, the findings of this thesis attempt to provide a more nuanced understanding, and advance the conceptualisation and practical application of attentional focus during endurance activity. We provide a metacognitive framework to guide work within this domain and highlight the importance of attentional focus to effective self-regulation during endurance performance.



  • Faculty of Education and Health Sciences


  • Doctoral

First supervisor

Tadhg E. MacIntyre

Second supervisor

Mark J. Campbell





Department or School

  • Physical Education and Sports Science

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