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Effect of Identity Positioning on Visual Search Strategies and Decision-Making in Team Sports

An Exploratory Study with Professional Basketball Players




Visual strategies, Basketball, Psychosocial, Decision Making


As the social identity approach gains prominence in sports psychology, the influence of team identification on performance metrics remains underexplored. This study investigates the impact of self-categorization levels on visual search strategies and decision-making among team-based sports athletes. We conducted evaluations of oculomotor behavior, encompassing measurements of eye fixation frequency and duration, alongside assessments of decision-making proficiency, among ten professional basketball players (Mean age = 26.3, SD = 4.67). Participants were exposed to fourteen first-person filmed video clips depicting 5-on-5 basketball games in a controlled environment designed to elicit varied levels of team identification. This was achieved by manipulating conditions to favor either individualistic or team-oriented goals, establishing a dichotomy between low and high team identification scenarios. Data analysis, based on 6,238 visual fixations and 271 decisions, showed a significant increase in shot attempts under personal identity conditions compared to social identity conditions, whereas the number of passes was higher in the latter. Oculometric data, however, showed no significant differences across conditions. These preliminary results highlight the complex interplay between team identification and cognitive-behavioral processes, underscoring the need for further investigation into how social identity affects team sports performance and decision-making.


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