Date of Award


Publication Type


Degree Name





S. Scharoun Benson


Athletes, Attention, Cognitive performance, Spatial awareness, Sport performance, Working memory



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Sport-specific practice of movement techniques is undoubtedly important in young athletes' sport performance. However, in sports that are more heavily reliant on open skills, cognitive factors, such as working memory (WM), attention, and spatial awareness, are more likely to become a barrier for proficiency than form or physical prowess. Nevertheless, the intricacies of the relationships that exist between these cognitive factors has gone relatively unexplored, particularly in the context of sport. The present research explored the impact of sport-specific experience on measures of WM, attentional control, and spatial awareness, and their interactions, through the lens of athletic expertise. Participants consisted of members of the University of Windsor student body, with varying degrees of experience in fast ball sports, ranging from varsity athletes, recreational athletes, fans, and novices. The study consisted of a baseball knowledge survey, a digital version of the Corsi Block Span (forward and backward) and a Situational Awareness Task specific to baseball. Results suggested a higher level of domain specificity for WM and attention, as well as a greater adaptability of attentional control, particularly in the context of expert athletes. Taken together, findings provided evidence that sport related cognitive performances are not as easily generalized to practical applications as previously thought, and that context plays a key role in athletes' ability to employ more efficient processing pathways.