Exploring the Orthogonal Relationship between Controlled and Automated Processes in Skilled Action

Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (3):577-593 (2020)
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Traditional models of skill learning posit that skilled action unfolds in an automatic manner and that control will prove deleterious to movement and performance proficiency. These perspectives assume that automated processes are characterised by low levels of control and vice versa. By contrast, a number of authors have recently put forward hybrid theories of skilled action which have sought to capture the close integration between fine-grained automatic motor routines and intentional states. Drawing heavily on the work of Bebko et al. and Christensen et al., we argue that controlled and automated processes must operate in parallel if skilled performers are to address the wide range of challenges that they are faced with in training and competition. More specifically, we show how skilled performers use controlled processes to update and improve motor execution in training contexts and to stabilise performance under pressurised conditions.



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